The layout or arrangement of the use of the land are known as ”Land Use Pattern”

  • Land use may be determined by many factors like relief features, climate, soil, density of population, technical and socio-economic factors
  • There are spatial and temporal differences in land utilization, due to the continued interplay of physical and human factors
  • India has a total geographical area of about 328.73 million hectares, but statistic pertaining to land utilization are available for about 305.90 million hectares


The important types of land use in the country are as follows:

  1. Net Sown Area(NSA)
    • The cropped area in the year under consideration is called net sown area
    • This type of land use is significant, as agricultural production largely depends upon this type of land
    • This accounts for about 06% of the total reporting area of India, i.e. 141.58 million hectares; as against the world average of 32%
    • The per capita cultivated land has gone down drastically from 0.53 ha in 1951, to 0.11 ha in 2011-12, and hence the need for population control
    • Rajasthan has the largest NSA of 18.35 million ha, which is about 12.96 % of total reporting NSA of India; followed by Maharashtra
    • In terms of proportions of NSA to total area, Punjab & Haryana have some of the highest proportions at 82.6 and 80.5 respectively
    • Large parts of the Satluj, Ganga plains, Gujrat plains, Kathiawar plateau, Maharashtra plateau and West Bengal basin have high proportion of cultivated area due to
      • Gentle slope of land
      • Fertile alluvial and black soils
      • Favorable climate
      • Excellent irrigation facilities
    • In contrast, the mountainous region and drier tracts have lesser NSA, because of rugged topography, unfavorable climate and infertile soils
  1. Area sown more than once
    • As the name indicates, this area is used to grow more than once crop in a year
    • The total cropped area has increased from 185.34 million ha in 2000-01 to 198.97 ha in 2010-11
      • This means that the area sown more than once has increased from 44 million ha in 2000-01, to 57.39 million ha in 2010-11
      • Thus, there is a net increase of over 13 million ha in ‘area sown more than once’ in a short span of ten years
    • The area under this category comprises of land with rich fertile soils and regular water supply
    • This type of land is significant, as since almost all the arable land had been brought under cultivation, the only way to increase agricultural production is to increase cropping intensity, which can be done by increasing the area sown more than once
    • Cropping Intensity = Gross Cropped Area/Net Sown Area x 100.
    • The regions of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the coastal regions have large percentage of area under this category

  1. Forest Area
    • This includes all land classified either as forest under legal enactment, or administered as forest whether state owned/private and whether wooded or maintained as potential forest land
    • The area of crops grown in the forest and grazing lands or areas open for grazing within the forests remain included under the forest area
    • Forests cover about 23% of the reported area, which is a definite improvement against 14% in 1950-51
    • According to National Forest Policy 1952, the reporting area of the forest must be 3% of the total land.
    • Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman Nicobar islands are reporting more area under forest. It is due to heavy rainfall and relief features
    • In contrast Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Punjab and Goa states have less area under forests
  1. Land not available for cultivation
    • This class consists of two types of land
      • Land put to non-agricultural uses
      • Barren and uncultivable waste
    • The area put to non-agricultural uses includes land occupied by villages, towns, roads, railways or under water i.e. rivers, lakes, canals, tanks, ponds, etc.
    • The barren land covers all barren and uncultivated lands in mountainous and hill slopes, deserts and rocky areas
      • And these areas cannot be brought under plough, except at high input cost with possible low returns
    • Land not available for cultivation increased from 41.48 million ha in 2000-01, to 43.56 million ha in 2010-11 and accounted for 14% of total reported area in 2010-11
    • The largest amount of land in this category is in Andhra Pradesh, followed by Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
    • In contrast, Dadra and Haveli, Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar and Sikkim are having less area under this category.
  1. Permanent pastures and other grazing lands
    • A total area of 10.3 million ha is devoted to permanent pastures and other grazing lands
    • This amounts to about 4% of the total reporting area of the country
    • The area presently under pastures and other grazing lands is not sufficient keeping in view the large population of livestock in the country
    • About one-third of reporting area in Himachal Pradesh is under Pastures
    • The proportion varies from 4-10% in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Odisha
    • It is less than 3% in remaining parts of the country
  1. Land under miscellaneous tree crops and groves
    • This includes all cultivable land which is not included under NSA, but is put to some agricultural use
    • Land under casuarina trees, thatching grass, bamboo, bushes, other groves for fuel, that are not included under orchard are classed under this category
    • The land under this category has fallen from 6.97% in 1950-51, to a mere 1.41% in 1970-71, to 1% in 2010-11
    • Odisha has largest area under this category followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Tamilnadu
  1. Cultivable waste
    • This is the land available for cultivation, but not used for cultivation for one reason or the other
    • It cannot be used due to constraints such as lack of water, salinity or alkalinity of soil, soil erosion, water logging etc.
    • Reh, Usar, Bhur and Khola tracts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana as well as other parts of the country were used for agriculture in the past, but had to be abandoned due to some deficiencies in the soil resulting from faulty agricultural practices
    • In 2010-11, the cultivable waste land was estimated to be about 5% of the total area
    • There has been decline is wasteland since independence, due to some land reclamation schemes launched in India
    • The states with considerable cultivable waste land are Gujarat(13.6%), Madhya Pradesh(10.2%), Uttar Pradesh(6.93%) and Maharashtra(6.83%)
    • This land can be brought under cultivation with efforts; but in the interest of long term conservation and maintenance of ecobalance, this land should be out under afforestation and not under crop farming
  2. Fallow lands
    • This category includes all that land, which was used for cultivation but is temporarily out of cultivation
    • It is of two types
      • Current fallow
      • Fallow other than current fallow
    • Fallow of one year is called current fallow, while that of 2-5 years is classified as ‘fallow other than current fallow’
    • Current Fallow land amounted to 5% of the reported area in 2010-11
      • And fallow other than current fallow, amounted to 3% of the reported areas
    • The largest area of ‘fallow other than current fallow’ is in Rajasthan followed having an area of 1.7 ha; followed by Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra
    • Under current fallow, Andhra Pradesh has the largest area