Nature has given India a variety of natural resources. We need these resources to meet our daily needs. Soil, is an important natural resources, that provides food for the plants to grow and helps us to produce cereals, fruits and vegetables.
There are different types of rocks on the Earth. Soil is formed by the breaking up of rocks. The nature of soil on different parts of the Earth largely depends upon the type of rocks.
Though soil is found at every place, its thickness varies from place to place, Also some soils are very fertile while others may be less so. In this way, the quality and quantity of soil vary greatly from place to place. The soil of the Northern Plains is very fertile.
The Himalayan Rivers bring a large amount of broken rock- material with them. During the rainy season, when most of the rivers of India are in flood, this broken rock material is deposited along their banks. The soft and light material is called alluvium. It is very fertile. The main crops grown in such soil are rice, wheat, sugarcane and jute.
The Deccan Plateau is rocky and uneven. It is made up of lava rocks. The rocks deep inside the Earth are in the molten state. Sometimes, these molten rocks escape through cracks and weak spots in the Earth’s surface. This molten material forms the lava rocks on cooling.
The soil formed by the lava rocks is generally black in color. Black soil is found in the north-western part of the Deccan Plateau. The black soil is very good for growing cotton. In the remaining part of the plateau, the soil is reddish in color. The red soil, which is not very fertile, is also called Laterite. Mostly, groundnut and millets are grown here.
Nothing grows in desert due to acute shortage of water. But wherever water has been made available through irrigation, crops such as wheat, gram, cotton, millets, dates and fruits can be grown. The soil on the hill-slopes is very thin and poor. It is coarse with big pieces of rocks. This soil is suitable for planting fruit trees. The slopes are cut into terraces, to grow rice and maize.
The large variety of soils helps us to grow many crops in India. Where the soil is not fertile, we add manure and fertilizers to make it fertile. Wind and running water can easily remove loose from the fields. This is called soil erosion. It can reduce the fertility of the soil. We must maintain the fertility of the soil by taking preventive steps like covering the soil with grass, shrubs and trees.
The roots of these plants hold the soil together so that it does not get washed away by rain or blown away by high winds. We must plant more trees and reduce the cutting of our existing forests to protect our soils.