Major types of Soils.(ICAR classification) and their distribution. Soil degradation and conservation


Soil is defined as upper layer of the earth composed of loose surface material. It is a mixture of many substances including endless variety of minerals, remnants of plants and animals, water and air. It is the end product of continuing interaction between the parent material, local climate, plant and animal organisms and elevation of land. Since each of the elements varies over space, soils also differ from place to place. Soil is an important segment of our ecosystem, as it serves an anchorage for plants and source of nutrients. Thus, soil is the seat, the medium and fundamental raw material for plant growth.
Soils are formed from materials that have resulted from the disintegration of rocks by various processes of physical and chemical weathering. The nature and structure of a given soil depends on the processes and conditions that formed it:

  • Breakdown of parent rock: weathering, decomposition, erosion.
  • Transportation to site of final deposition: gravity, flowing water, ice, wind.
  • Environment of final deposition: flood plain, river terrace, glacial moraine, lacustrine or marine.
  • Subsequent conditions of loading and drainage: little or no surcharge, heavy surcharge due to ice or overlying deposits, change from saline to freshwater, leaching, contamination.

According to ICAR Indian soils are classified as:-

Soil erosion is described as the carrying away of soil. It is the removal of the soil by natural elements like water, wind, glacier and wave. Gravity tends to move soil down slope either very slowly as in soil creep or very rapidly as in landslides. The present shape of land has been carved through thousands of years.

Soil conservation is the preventing of soil loss from erosion or reduced fertility caused by over usage,Soil  acidification, salinization or other chemical soil contamination. Slash-and-burn and other unsustainable methods of subsistence farming are practiced in some lesser developed areas.

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