Agro-ecological Zones

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Agriculture is highly dependent on soils and climate. The ever-increasing need for food to support the growing population in the country demands a systematic appraisal of its soil and climate resources in order to prepare effective land-use plans. India has a variety of landscapes and climate conditions and this is reflected in the development of different soils and types of vegetation. Based on 50 years of climate data and an up-to-date soil database, the country has been divided into 20 agro-ecological zones (AEZs). Each AEZ is as uniform as possible in terms of physiography, climate, length of growing period and soil type for macrolevel land-use planning and effective transfer of technology.

FIGURE 2

 

Important Features of Agro-ecological Zones of India

AEZ No. Agro-ecological region Geographical area (million ha) Gross cropped area (million ha)

Physiography

Precipitation (mm) PET (mm) Length of growing period (days) Major crops
1. Cold arid ecoregion with shallow skeletal soils 15.2
(4.7%)
0.07

Western Himalayas

< 150 <800 < 90 Vegetables, millets, wheat, fodder, barley, pulses
2. Hot arid ecoregion with desert and saline soils 31.9
(9.7%)
20.85 Western Plain & Kachchha Peninsula < 300 15002000 < 90 Millets, fodder, pulses
3. Hot arid ecoregion with red and black soils 4.9
(1.9%)
4.18 Deccan Plateau 400500 18001900 < 90 Sorghum, safflower, cotton, groundnut, sunflower, sugar cane
4. Hot semi-arid ecoregion with alluvium-derived soils 32.2
(9.8%)
30.05 Northern Plain & Central Highlands including parts of Gujarat Plains 500800 14001900 90150 Millets, wheat, pulses, maize; irrigated cotton & sugar cane
5. Hot semi-arid ecoregion with medium and deep black soils 17.6
(5.4%)
11.04 Central (Malwa) Highlands,Gujarat Plains & Kathiawar Peninsula 5001000 16002000 90150 Millets, wheat, pulses
6. Hot semi-arid ecoregion with shallow and medium (dominant) black soils 31.0
(9.5%)
25.02 Deccan Plateau 6001000 16001800 90150 Millets, cotton, pulses, sugar cane under irrigation
7. Hot semi-arid ecoregion with red and black soils 16.5
(5.2%)
6.19 Deccan (Telangana) Plateau & Eastern Ghats 6001000 16001700 90150 Millets, oilseeds, rice, cotton & sugar cane under irrigation
8. Hot semi-arid ecoregion with red loamy soils 19.1
(5.8%)
6.96 Eastern Ghats (Tamil Nadu uplands) & Deccan Plateau (Karnataka) 6001000 13001600 90150 Millets, pulses, oilseeds (groundnut), sugar cane & rice under irrigation
9. Hot subhumid (dry) ecoregion with alluvium-derived soils 12.1
(3.7%)
11.62 Northern Plain 10001200 14001800 150180 Rice, wheat, pigeon pea, sugar cane, mustard, maize
10. Hot subhumid ecoregion with red and black soils 22.3
(5.8%)
14.55 Central Highlands (Malwa & Bundelkhand) 10001500 13001500 150180 Rice, wheat, sorghum, soybean, gram, pigeon pea
11. Hot subhumid ecoregion with red and yellow soils 11.1
(4.3%)
6.47 Eastern Plateau (Chhattisgarh Region) 12001600 14001500 150180 Rice, millets, wheat, pigeon pea, green gram, black gram
12. Hot subhumid ecoregion with red and lateritic soils 26.8
(8.2%)
12.09 Eastern (Chhota Nagpur) Plateau and Eastern Ghats 10001600 14001700 150180 Rice, pulses, millets
13. Hot subhumid (moist) ecoregion with alluvium-derived soils 11.1
(3.4%)
10.95 Eastern Plains 14001600 13001500 180210 Rice, wheat, sugar cane
14. Warm subhumid to humid with inclusion of perhumid ecoregion with brown forest and podzolic soils 18.2
(5.6%)
3.20 Western Himalayas 16002000 8001300 180210 Wheat, millets, maize, rice
15. Hot subhumid (moist) to humid (inclusion of perhumid) ecoregions with alluvial-derived soils 12.1
3.7%)
8.99 Bengal Basin and Assam Plain 14002000 10001400 > 210 Rice, jute, plantation crops
16. Warm perhumid ecoregion with brown and red hill soils 9.6
(2.9%)
1.37 Eastern Himalayas 20004000 <1000 > 210 Rice, millets, potato, maize, sesame, Jhum* cultivation is common
17. Warm perhumid ecoregion with red and lateritic soils 10.6
(3.3%)
1.56 North-Eastern Hills 16002600 10001100 > 210 Rice, millets, potato, plantation crops, Jhum* cultivation is common
18. Hot subhumid to semi-arid ecoregion with coastal alluvium-derived soils 8.5
(2.6%)
6.12 Eastern Coastal Plains 9001600 12001900 90>210 Rice, coconut, black gram, lentil, sunflower, groundnut
19. Hot humid perhumid ecoregion with red, lateritic and alluvium-derived soils 11.1
(3.6%)
5.70 Western Ghats and Coastal Plains 20003200 14001600 > 210 Rice, tapioca, coconut, spices
20. Hot humid / perhumid island ecoregion with red loamy and sandy soils 0.8
(0.3%)
0.05 Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep 16003000 14001600 > 210 Rice, coconut, areca nut, oil palm

 

(Source: www.fao.org)