Wastelands the Land Resource Department (Download PDF)

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The National Remote Sensing Centre prepared a wasteland Atlas being released by the Land Resource Department. Degraded forests, overgrazed pastures, drought-struck pastures, eroded valleys, hilly slopes, waterlogged marshy lands, barren land etc constitute to Wastelands.

Wastelands Distribution in India


  • The land not fit for agriculture with the available technology is known as wasteland.
  • The land can be agricultural productive with the help of present technology are not into the category of wasteland.

Causes of Formation of Wastelands

  • Overgrazing
  • Indiscriminate and over utilisation of forest produces
  • Side effects of development projects
  • Mis-use and unscientific land management

Classification of Wastelands

Culturable Wastelands

  • The land left fallow or uncultivated for more than 5 years is considered as Culturable wasteland.
  • Culturable wastelands can be used as productive by using the present Technology.
  • Culturable wastelands include gullied lands surface water logged marshy lands, undulating and saline lands.

UnCulturable Wastelands

  • These wastelands include barren rocky lands, steep sloping areas and areas covered by snow or glaciers.
  • These wastelands are not available for cultivation.

Waste Land to Productive Land Conversion

  • India holds 18 % of world՚s population on 2.5 % of land area.
  • 3,166 lakh hectares of land is wasteland in India which is 15 % of the total area of the country.
  • The government is promoting the conversion of wasteland into other land uses.
  • India also facing a food security, to ensure food security there is a need for improving productivity of existing agricultural land and adding additional land under the cultivation.
  • Increase the area under irrigation using drought resistant seed variety Technology so that India can increase food production.
  • Wasteland can be used as climate change mitigation.
  • Afforestation on the wasteland can help in fight against the global warming and it acts as carbon sinks.
  • Setting up of solar power plants or wind mills on the waste land will help in electricity production and increase Indian economy.
  • The states like Rajasthan and Gujarat are actively working on this model of using wasteland into productivity utilisation for energy and economy.
  • In Rajasthan around 4,803 square kilometres of wasteland areas of shrubs and sands are converted into cultivated agricultural land it helps extensive solar parks in the state for production of renewable energy.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Bihar also converting wasteland into productive.
  • Illegal encroachment by local people also helps in conversion of wasteland.

Impacts of Conversion

  • Wastelands have good vegetation of grasses these grasslands are used by local pastoral community for grazing and gathering for their livelihood.
  • Nomadic farmers also depending on the Scrub land for shifting cultivation and fishermen depend on the marshy areas and waterlogged areas for fishing.
  • The wastelands are having unique biodiversity it will affect by the conversion of wastelands.
  • Wastelands help in disaster management. The Marsh lands will help in the flooding, excess of flood water will diverted to these areas.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 28, 2019


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