After learning about the renewable resources like water, forests etc., you would like to know what our non-renewable resources such as land, mineral, oceanic resources are. These resources can neifher be regenerated nor expanded.
Land is a basic resource for us. As you have learnt in the previous unit, it is, in fact, the foundation on which the entire ecological system rests and it is the living ground (habitat) for all terrestrial plants and animals. The capability of land to support life and various activities of man and animals is dependent both on its biological productivity, and load bearing capacity of the soil and rocks. Land is under great pressure due to increase in population. Our land mass which was, in 1901, inhabited by 238 million people, is now shared by more than 780 million people. Mismanagement of the land resource as a result of indiscriminate cutting of trees or deforestation has caused considerable damage to the quality of the soil and landscapes. Today, per capita land resource available in India is less than 0.4 hectare and it is presumed that with the present rate of population growth, it would be reduced to about 0.33 hectare by theof twentieth century. Thus, you can realise the magnitude of the pressure on our land resources.
Soil, which forms the uppermost layer of the land, is the most precious of all resources, because it supports the whole life system, provides food and fodder in the form of vegetation and stores water essential for life. It contains sand, silt and clays, mixed with air and moisture. It possesses rich organic and mineral nutrients. The type of soil varies from place to place. Those soils which are rich in organic matter are fertile. Fertility is also dependent on the capacity of the soil to retain water and oxygen. The following major types of soil are recognisable in the Indian sub-continent.