Laterite soil is formed by leaching from tropical rains, creating a unique landscape. Upland laterites and lowland laterites are the two distinct types that can be found. Boasting a coarse texture, the soil is both soft and crumbly at the same time.
Laterite soil is known for its porous nature, allowing water to move through easily. However, it lacks lime and magnesium, and nitrogen is also scarce. Its acidic nature presents challenges for cultivation.
Elaborately put, in nature, soils with a pH value below 6.0 often lack essential plant nutrients. Predominantly, such soil pops up in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra/Northeast regions/Odisha/Southern states/certain areas of West Bengal. These areas mostly house deciduous and evergreen forests, but sadly, they're low on humus.
Despite these limitations, farmers have found success growing special crops like tapioca, cashew nuts, tea, and coffee in laterite soils. These plants seem to thrive in the distinct conditions this unique soil offers.
This particular soil type displays characteristics of both parched (meaning dry) and semi-parched landscapes, making it predominantly sandy and briny (saltly tastewise). Within these regions, where the salinity is remarkably elevated, inhabitants conveniently acquire ordinary salt through the evaporation of water. Regrettably, such soils are plagued by a scarcity of organic content, humus, and hydration.
Primarily nestled within the dry landscapes of Punjab/Haryana/Rajasthan, this soil boasts both local origins and an intriguing connection to the Indus Valley. It's a delightful blend crafted by Mother Nature herself.
Descending deeper into the soil layers, we find Kankar due to increased calcium content. This Kankar formation at the lower horizons results in restricted water infiltration--nature's little roadblock.
Fret not! These soils may undergo reclamation if one provides adequate irrigation facilities. So there is still hope for fruitful cultivation in these regions.
Mountain soils are the hidden gems nestled within the highlands of numerous nations. In India, you'll discover picturesque landscapes tucked away in hidden jewels like Arunachal Pradesh/Himachal Pradesh. Also, you'll discover this soil in awe-inspiring nature’s beauty in Meghalaya/Eastern Ranges/Uttarakhand/Jammu & Kashmir. These regions boast some seriously breathtaking views.
Originating from vegetative cover, these soils are a fascinating blend of organic materials. Much like a thriving garden boasting a colorful array of plants, their eclectic essence results in distinctive variations (heterogeneous soil nature) from one location to another.
Take the Shivalik hills, for example: here, their shallow and immature soil wears a coat of decomposed mineral grains. If you dig deep enough, you'll discover sandy textures, speckled with gravel. These porous soils may lack humus, but they still hold a unique quality.
In the hilly and mountainous regions, one can find this fascinating soil. As a fun fact, the soil texture varies; it's loamy and silty (the accumulation of sediment caused by a river) along valley sides while being coarse-grained (coarse or grainier in texture) throughout the upper slopes.
Now let's get to the snowy Himalayas, where these soils experience denudation (loss of the land surface due to weathering and erosion processes) and become acidic. Sporting low humus content, they're surely unique! But wait, there's more: fertility exists in the soil found on river terraces and alluvial fans. How fascinating!
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