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Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Soil as a Resource

  • Soil is the most important renewable resource.

  • It is the medium of plant growth.

  • It supports different types of living organisms on the earth.

  • Soil is a living system

Factors responsible for Soil Formation

  • It takes millions of years to form soil upto a few cm in depth

  • Weathering or disintegration of parent rock by physical, chemical and biological agents.

  • Soil formation influenced by plants, micro organisms, animals and humans

  • Temperature affects the rate of weathering and organic decomposition

  • Action of running water, wind and glaciers

  • Soil consists of organic (humus) and inorganic materials

Classification of soils

On the basis of factors responsible for soil formation color, thickness, texture, age, chemical and physical properties, the soil of India can be classified in different types.

1) Alluvial Soil

Areas :

  • Northern region of India

  • Gujarat and Rajasthan

  • Deltas of Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri

Characteristics :

  • Consists of sand , silt and clay

  • On the basis of age (Khadar-new alluvial soil, fertile) and Bangar-old alluvial)

  • Very fertile

  • Most suitable for cultivation of sugarcane, paddy wheat

  • Areas with this type of soil are highly populated and intensively cultivated

2) Black Soil


  • North-West Deccan Plateaus

  • Plateaus of Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh


  • Black in color

  • Ideal for growing cotton

  • Made up of clayey material

  • Develop deep cracks which helps in aeration of the soil

  • Is sticky when wet

3) Red and Yellow soil


  • Parts of Odisha, Chhattisgarh

  • Middle Ganga Plain

  • Piedmont zone of western ghats


  • Reddish colour due to diffusion of iron into crystalline and metamorphic rocks

  • They develop on cryst

  • Looks yellow when it occur in hydrated form

4) Laterite Soil


  • Western regions of Maharashtra, Odisha

  • Parts of West Bengal

  • North -East regions


  • Derived from Latin word later, which means brick

  • Result of intense leaching due to heavy rain

  • Humus content is low as decomposers like bacteria get destroyed due to high temperature

  • Manures and fertilizers make them suitable for cultivation

  • Prone to erosion and degradation

  • Useful for growing tea and coffee

5) Arid Soil




  • Red and brown in color

  • Salt content is high

  • Soil lacks humus and moisture

  • Kankar layer at the bottom, the penetration of water is restricted

  • Become cultivable after proper irrigation (western Rajasthan)

6) Forest Soil


Hilly and mountainous region


  • Loamy and silty in the valley side

  • Coarse grained in the upper slopes

  • Low humus content in the upper slopes of Himalayas

  • Experience denudation and are acidic in snow covered areas

  • Soil on the river terraces is fertile

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