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Give a brief account of the distribution of soils in India | distribution of soils in India UPSC


Give a brief account of the distribution of soils in India. ( 64th BPSC, 2019)


Soils are very valuable resources for any country and terrestrial ecosystems are largely dependent on the soil. It takes millions of years to form a few cm of soil. 

As we know that India is a very diverse country in terms of relief features, landforms, climates, and vegetation types and thus it had contributed to the development of different types of soil in India.

On the basis of genesis, color, and composition; Indian soil can be categorized into the followings types:

  • Alluvial Soils
  • Black soils
  • Red and Yellow soils
  • Laterite Soils
  • Arid Soils
  • Forest Soils
Give a brief account of the distribution of soils in India

Alluvial Soils:

  • It covers around 40 % of areas of India and is widespread over northern plains, deltas, and other parts of river valleys. 
  • Bhangar, Khadar, and Kankars are three varieties of Alluvial soils.

Black soils:

  • Black soils are covered mostly in the Deccan Plateau that is spread in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and part of Tamil Nadu. 
  • Black soil retains moisture for a very long time due to slow absorption and loss of moisture features.

Red and Yellow Soils:

  • Red and Yellow soils are developed from crystalline igneous rocks in the presence of low rainfall and high temperature. 
  • It is widespread over the eastern part of western ghats, eastern ghats, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, the southern part of middle Ganga Plains, and part of North Eastern States.

Laterite Soils:

  • Laterite soils develop in areas with heavy rainfall and high temperature. Due to heavy rains, limes and silica leached to the lower profile; and the upper profile of the soil is rich in iron oxides and aluminum. Humus content is very less in the laterite soil due to high bacterial activities in prevailing climatic conditions.
  • Laterite soils are widespread in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is also found in the Hilly areas of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Assam.

Arid Soils:

  • Arid soils are sandy structure and it is found in areas with very high temperature and low rainfall where evaporation is higher than precipitation.
  • It is found in the arid and semi-arid region of Rajasthan and the shadow zone of the western ghats.

Forest Soils:

  • Forest soils are found in forest areas with the presence of sufficient rainfall. It is found in the snow-bound areas of the Himalayas.
  • It is widespread in Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and the western part of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is coarse grain on the upper side of the mountains and silty on the lower side of the valley.
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