What are the Methods used in reclamation of wastelands?

Land is a precious resource, since it is put to diverse use by man. India with a land area 32, 88000 km- which is about 2.4% of the world supports 15% of the world's population. The precipitate land resource available now in India is less than 0.4 hectares, in comparison to more than 0.9 hector in China.

About 44% of our land is used for agriculture, 23% is covered with forests, and 4% is used pastures and grazing fields, 8% for housing, agro forestry, industrial areas, and roads arid so on. The 14% is barren and about 8% is used for miscellaneous purposes. The rapid increase of urbanisation migration of population to towns and cities has created many problems. All this has led to the utilization of agricultural land for housing construction, industries etc.

The rational use of land resource is possible by adopting and integrated land-use policy which involves prevention of land misuse and reclamation of degraded and under-utilised land, wastelands fallows, etc. Reclamation of abandoned mines and brick kilns may yield some much required land. Few agricultural lands should not be sacrificed for non-agricultural purposes, such as road building, development of industries or construction of water reservoirs.

Urban areas should not be developed on agriculture lands. Waste lands arc lands which are unproductive, unfit for cultivation grazing and other economic uses due to rough terrain and eroded soils. The lands which are water-logged and saline are also term as waste lands.

The geomorphic processes become active in the absence of land management practices. As these processes erode and transport soil layers making those lands infertile, stony and useless.

The deforestation leads to soil erosion and the eroded soils exhibit droughty tendency. Further, falling trees aggravate the lowering of water table and dry conditions. The loss of fertility followed erosion also leads to the transformation of marginal forest lands into wastelands.

Waste lands are broadly categorized under two groups: barren and uncultivable waste land cultivable wasteland. The first category includes lands which cannot be brought under cultivation economic use except at a very high cost whether they exist as isolated pockets or within cultivar holdings. They are mostly lands such as hilly slopes, rocky exposures, stony or leached or gully land sandy deserts.

The second category lands are cultivable but not cultivated for more than five years. It comprise lands available for cultivation, but not taken up for cultivation. Next to 'fallow' lands, cultivable w lands are important for agricultural purposes because they can be reclaimed through conservation practices for cultivation or grazing or agro-forestry.

Reclamation: Some of the measures used to reclaim these waste lands are the following:

(i) These lands can be brought under cultivation by using abundant water and fertilizers.

(ii) Afforestation and agronomical practices are adopted to conserve the soil. So that they can be for agriculture

(iii) Contour bunds are constructed affording safe disposal of water of the catchment areas.

These lands are also used for settlement of landless agricultural workers.