Explain land use pattern in India and why has the land under forest not increased much since 1960-61?

Land resource:

Land is a natural resource of utmost and ultimate importance. Land supports each and everything. For example natural vegetation, wildlife, human life, economic activities, transport and communication systems. India has land under a variety of relief features, namely; mountains, plateaus, plains, islands and many more.

Land Utilisation:

Land resources are used for many purposes. The purposes are mentioned below:

(i) Forests
(ii)Land that is not available for cultivation
a) Barren or wasteland

b) Land that is put to non-agricultural uses

(iii) Fallow lands
(iv)Other uncultivated lands (excluding fallow land)
(v)Net sown area

Land Use Pattern in India

The usage of land is determined by both physical and human factors.

  • Physical factors: It is dependent on nature variants such as topography, climate, soil types
  • Human factors: It completely relies on human activities and usage such as population density, technological capability and culture and traditions etc.


  • The main utilisation and usage of land is set on two different factors physical and human. Physical factors include topography, climatic conditions depending upon the area, soil types Human factors comprises of population density, technological capability and culture and traditions etc.
  • The pattern and follow up of the net sown area varies widely from one state to another.
  • It is mostly over 80 per cent of the total area in Punjab and Haryana and very less than 10 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman Nicobar Islands.
  • The total area occupied by forest is 33 per cent which is far lower than the estimated geographical area, which was outlined in the National Forest Policy (1952).
  • It was considered mandatory for the maintenance of the ecological balance.
  • Apart of this, land is termed as wasteland and land that is put up to other non-agricultural uses.
  • Wasteland mainly includes rocky, arid and desert areas and land put to other non-agricultural uses includes settlements, roads, railways, industry etc.
  • The repeated usage of land over a long period of time without taking adequate measures to conserve and manage has lead to degradation of land.

Land Degradation and measures to conserve land

Human activities has widely affected the land resources. The various activities of humans like deforestation, overgrazing, mining, not treating industrial waste efficiently have contributed significantly and widely to land degradation. The mining sites leave deep scars and traces of over-burdening and exploitation of the land. In recent years, numerous industrial effluents as waste has become a major source of land and water pollution in many areas of the countries.

Given below are some of the ways through which land degradation can be reduced and brought down to a minimum extent:

  • Afforestation
  • Proper and adequate methods of grazing
  • Planting a wide number of shelter belts of plants
  • Stabilisation of sand dunes by harnessing thorny bushes
  • Proper management of wastelands by constructing public parks, play area for kids etc
  • Control and minimise the use of mining activities
  • Proper discharge methods of industrial effluents
  • Proper disposal of household waste which is generated in tons day by day

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