• Soil is the top layer on the earth’s crust made from very small particles comprising minerals and organic
  • The soil formation is a complex process which is called pedogenesis. Pedogenesis includes processes such as weathering, leaching, calcification, etc.
  • The soil characteristics are affected by various factors such as parent rock material, climate, altitude, slope, natural vegetation, etc.
  • Pedology is the study of soils.

Classification of Soil in Uttar Pradesh

  • Soils of Uttar Pradesh are divided into six main groups for the convenience of study. These are Bhabar soils, Tarai soils, Vindhyan soils, Bundelkhand soils, Aravali soils and Alluvial soils.
  • Each of these soil groups have developed under the combined influence of a wide range of soil forming factors including climate, vegetation and parent materials.

Soils of Bhabar Region

  • These soils are found in a strip in the northern-most part of the state along the Shivalik-foothills.
  • These are prominently observed in the western parts in Saharanpur and Bijnor districts.
  • These soils are of alluvial origin and are in primitive stages. Their depth is less and the top layer is full of small pebbles and stones. These soils are known for being calcareous.
  • Presence of subhumid and wet climate is ideal for their development.
  • These soils are not suitable for agriculture.

Soils of Terai Region

  • These soils are found in the Terai region in the south of Bhabar region, made by the deposition of rivers. The soil is rich in nitrogen and organic matter.
  • These soils remain moist due to high levels of ground water. Pebbles and rock particles are absent in the soils of Bhabar region. It is made of finer particles compared to soils of Bhabar region. The soils are silty and clayey.
  • Terai soils are broadly categorised as domat soil and can be divided into different kinds of domat soils based on the particle size and amount of lime.
    • Domat soil is also known as sikta, kariyal and dhanka in Uttar Pradesh and is overall nutritious and suitable for various types of crops.
  • It is known for the cultivation of sugarcane, rice, wheat, etc.

Alluvial Soil of Gangetic Plains

  • Alluvial soils are the largest soil group of Uttar Pradesh, These are spread from west to east in plain regions, Alluvial soils in Uttar Pradesh are mainly brought by Ganga and its tributaries.
  • The occurrence of floods helps in the development of alluvial soil by deposition of a new layer of soil.
  • These soils are more developed in the levelled areas and less developed in the areas with undulating topography. These soils are finer than the soils of Terai and Bhabar region and are well developed and very deep.
  • These are rich in potash and lime but poor in nitrogen, phosphorous and humus. Alluvial soils are very fertile due to diverse parent materials.
  • These are suitable for almost all types of crops.
  • Alluvial soils are divided into Khadar and Bangar soils.
    • Bangar:
      • Bangar is the old alluvial deposit. These are found in upland areas where floodwater is unable to reach.
      • The soil is dark in colour and coarser. It is less fertile compared to Khadar. The soil is rich in humus content. It has the presence of calcareous deposits known as kankar.
    • Khadar:
      • The young alluvial soil, Khadar, is developed in low lying areas which are submerged by flood water every year.
      • These are more fertile and finer and lighter in colour. These soil are good for almost any crop.

Soils of Vindhyan Region

  • These soils are found in the Baghelkhand or Vindhyanchal plateau region of the state comprising parts of Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Prayagraj and Chandauli districts.
  • These soils are red and yellow in colour. These soils have been formed by fragmentation of archaean granite rocks and are rich in iron and aluminium but deficient in lime, phosphate, nitrogen, potash and humus content.
  • Locally, these are known as bhonta. These soil are suitable for the cultivation of pulse, oilseeds, millets,etc.

Soils of Bundelkhand Region

  • Soils of Bundelkhand region have been derived from the weathering of igneous and metamorphic rocks like granite and gneiss.
  • The soil can broadly be divided into two main groups.
    • Black Soil or Regur soil
    • Red Soil
  • Black Soil– Black soils are old and well developed soils. These are known for their moisture-holding capacity. It swells with moisture and develops cracks when dry. It is calcareous and fertile. It also has potassium and magnesium but lacks in phosphorus, nitrogen and humus content. Two kinds of black soils are found in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh- Mar and Kabar.
    • Mar Black Soil
      • The soil is rich in organic content. It has fine grains thus prone to waterlogging. It has a clayey texture.
      • Minimal or no fertiliser is required due to the high humus content in the soil. It also contains small calcareous deposits called kankar.
      • The soil is found in parts of Jalaun, Hamirpur, Jhansi and Banda.
      • It is also known as black cotton soil.
    • Kabar Black Soil
      • Its colour varies from dark to grey-black. It has a coarse grain structure.
      • Kabar soil is found in Lalitpur, Banda, Jalaun and Hamirpur districts of Bundelkhand.
      • It is known for its extreme adhesiveness. It quickly dries and turns into hard blocks.
  • Red Soils-These are of two types:
    • Parua Soil
      • This soil has sandy to clayey texture. This variety of red soil has yellowish colour.
      • It is found throughout Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh.
      • Due to the coarse-grained structure, these soils are well aerated.
      • These are suitable for the cultivation of wheat, gram, sorghum, etc. with the availability of fertilisers and irrigation.
    • Rakar Soil
      • These are coarse-grained soils with reddish-brown colour. Their reddish colour is attributed to the presence of ferric oxide. The colour of soil varies based on the iron content.
      • These are slightly acidic and permeable soils. These are also known as pathari. The soil is rich in potash but lacks phosphate and Nitrogen.
      • These are susceptible to leaching.These soils are generally found on the sloping grounds.
      • These are generally not suitable for agriculture but the cultivation of gram, oilseeds, etc. is feasible in some regions.
  • Aravali Soil– Aravali soil is found in the parts of Agra district. It hasa reddish colour. It is brought by Chambal and its tributaries.

Other Soils of Uttar Pradesh

  • Apart from above-mentioned soils, some other soils are also found in small patches in Uttar Pradesh:
    • Mant and Banjar– These two soils are found in the eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh in districts of Gorakhpur, Basti, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar and Gonda.
      • The mant soil is loamy, sandy and calcareous. It is known to retain more water.
      • Banjar soil has lesser calcium deposits and it is loamy to sandy loam in texture.
    • Dooh– Dooh is the soil of waterlogged areas near river banks.
    • Bhaat– Bhaat soil is found in the Kushinagar district. It has aluminium deposits and is suitable for cultivation of millets.
    • Bhur– Bhurs are the undulating deposits of sandy soils in Bangar region. These are brought with the wind. These are prominent in Upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab region.
    • Maad– Maad issimilar to black regur soil. It is a clayey soil. It is rich in iron and aluminium. It is found in western districts of southern Uttar Pradesh. It is made by the weathering of Precambrian rocks.
    • Tertiary Soil – It is found in the Shivalik foothills region and is suitable for tea plantation.

Soils and their Local Names

SoilLocal Names
AlluvialJalodh, Cop
KhadarKachari, Domat, Matiyar. Silt sandy
BangarUprhar, Domat, Matiyar, Sandy-loam
Saline and Alkaline soilReh, Banjar, Usar, Kallar, Thur
Red soils in Bundelkhand RegionParua, Rakar
Black soils in Bundelkhand RegionMar, Kabar, Regur, cotton soil
Soil of Vindhyan Hill RegionBhonta or Monta

Problems of Soils in Uttar Pradesh

  • Soil is a valuable resource which is achieved through a complex process spanning through millions of years. Soils can be degraded due to various anthropological and natural activities.
  • Some common problems of soils are given below:
    • Soil Erosion
      • It is a natural process of removal of the fertile top layer of soil caused by various agents like wind and water. The problem of soil erosion is enhanced due to anthropological factors.
      • Uttar Pradesh is affected by severe erosion by water as well as winds. The western part of Uttar Pradesh under Yamuna-Chambal Valley is affected by gully erosion where large gulliesor channels have been formed in vast tracts of land by the action of running water. Such lands are called ravines.
        • Vast tracts of ravenous land are found in districts of Etawah, Agra and Jalaun.
      • The western region of Uttar Pradesh is also prone to wind erosion.
        • Agra, Mathura and Etawah are most severely affected by wind erosion during dry summer months.
    • Water-Logging
      • Water logging is prevalent in the Terai region and areas with well-developed canal networks.
      • Water logging causes the pores in top-soil become saturated which restricts the normal circulation of air in the soil.
      • Water logging adversely impacts the productivity of the soil. Seepage of water from canals, lack of drainage and cultivation in the bed of drainage basin are the main reasons for waterlogging.
        • A significant part of the Gangetic plain region is susceptible to waterlogging.
    • Decline in Soil Fertility
      • Soil fertility has declined in many parts of Uttar Pradesh. It is caused by continuous multi-cropping and un-scientific crop rotation.
      • More fertilisers per unit are required due to declining fertility. It is better to use a leguminous crop in between of two nutrient intensive crops to maintain fertility.
    • Saline and Alkaline Soils
      • Saline and alkaline soils are prevalent in Khadar region of western Uttar Pradesh. Such soils are locally known as reh, khullar, usar, thur, etc.
      • These soils are found in drier areas and are the result of over irrigation. Over irrigation leads toa rise in water level. Under such conditions, salts dissolved in water come at the surface due to capillary action and white patches are formed at the top layer of the soil.
      • Uttar Pradesh has the largest area, approximately 12.95 lakh hectare, under saline and alkalinelo Land.
      • Alkaline and saline lands are found in Aligarh, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kanpur, Unnao, Raebareli and Lucknow.
      • Gypsum and cow dung is used for treating saline and alkaline lands.

Methods of Soil Conservation

  • Soil being a valuable resource, soil conservation is a necessity.
  • Following methods can be used for soil conservation:
    • Afforestation and restriction of felling of trees
    • Reclamation of ravine and badlands
    • Reclamation of saline and alkaline land
    • Restoration of long fallow land
    • Prevention of floods
    • Lining of canals to stop seepage of water
    • Formation of wind break in arid and semi-arid regions
    • Scientific rotation of crops
    • Less use of chemical fertilisers and promoting the use of organic manure

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