Natural Resources – Land Resources
The below given table describes the land utilization pattern in India for the year, 1987—88. The total geographical area of India is about 329 million hectares, but statistical information regarding land classification was available for only about 305 million hectares. This information is based partly on village papers and partly on estimates.
Table: Land utilization pattern in India (year 1987—88)
Area in Million ha
Total Geographical Area
Total Reporting Area
Barren land and land put under non agricultural uses
Area Under Forest
Permanent pastures & grazing land
Cultivable waste land
Net area sown
Area sown more than once
Total cropped area
1) Barren Land: 41 million hectares (13%) of the total reporting area in India is classified as barren land. It includes mainly area under mountains, rivers and deserts. Similarly the area put under non agricultural uses viz, the land occupied by buildings, roads, railway, canal etc. In short, 13 % of the geographical area is never being available for cultivation. Perhaps this area may be increased in future due to increase in population and urbanization.
The rest of the land is put under three major uses i.e. forests, pastures and agriculture.
2) Area under forests: As shown in table about 20% (67 million ha) of land is under forests. The area under forests, includes the forest area owned by state (by law) or by private agencies.
3) Pastures and grazing land: About 34% area in total geographical area is occupied by pastures and grazing land. It includes permanent pastures and meadows (reserved grass land) and village common grazing land.
4) Cultivable Waste Land: 19 million hectares of land in our Country is coming under this category, Cultivable waste means lands which can be cultivated but actually it is not cultivated for many years. This land is under miscellaneous tree crops like casurina, bamboo, shrubs and bushes.
5) Fallow lands: These are cultivable lands but remained uncultivated. Again fallow lands can be classified as current fallow and other fallow land. Current fallow means uncultivated land during a given year. But other fallow land refers to that land which is not cultivated for a period not less than one year and not more than five years. The reasons for keeping such lands fallow may be due to unremunerative nature of land, lack of capital etc.
6) Agriculture land: Out of the total geographical area of 329 million hectares, net area sown is only 136 million hectares (i.e, 41%). Net area sown includes land under all agronomic crop a well as, horticultural crops (orchards) counted only once. Area Sown more than once represents the areas on which crops are grown more than once during the same year. Total cropped area represents total area cultivated covered by all the individual crops. In above table, the total cropped area is 173 million hectares and net area Sown is 136 million hectares and 37 million hectares of land sown more than once.
Area sown more than once = Total cropped area – Net sown area.