Types of Soil in India
The main categories of soils in India are: (i) Alluvial soils (ii) Black soils (iii) Red soils (iv) Laterite soils (v) Mountain and hill soils (vi) Terai soils (vii) Desert (or Arid) soil and (viii) Peat soils.
Alluvial soil and Black soil
Alluvial soil is that soil which is formed by deposition of silts brought down by the rivers. It is rich in hydrated oxides of iron and is very fertile. Black soil or the black cotton soil has a good water-holding capacity and is best suited for deep-rooted crops like cotton. The black soil in wet condition is compact and sticky.
The most extensive soil cover of India comprises alluvial soils.
Soil Erosion: The soils are usually six to twelve inches in depth. In course of time, the fertility level of the soil is depleted with the result that the soil no longer remains suitable for agriculture. Soil conservation is, therefore, necessary for continued agricultural prosperity.
The agencies of erosion are winds, water and waves of which the water erosion is most common. Rain water removes soil from the surface of sloping lands. Winds remove top soil of lands.
Laterite soils are formed by the weathering of laterite rocks. These can be distinguished from other soils by their acidity. Laterite soils are generally poor on the higher levels and cannot retain moisture. In the plains, however, they consist of heavy loams and clay and can retain moisture.
Laterite soils occur in Madhya Pradesh, Assam and along the Eastern and Western Ghats. Tea plantation requires acidity which is there in the laterite soil. It is, therefore, common in these areas.