NCERT Textbook - Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resources Class 8 Notes | EduRev

Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

Created by: C K Academy

Class 8 : NCERT Textbook - Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resources Class 8 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


In a small village in Tanzania, Africa, Mamba gets up 
very early in the morning to fetch water. She has to walk 
a long way and returns after a few hours. She then helps 
her mother in the house and joins her brothers in taking 
care of their goats.  All her family owns is a piece of rocky 
land around their small hut. Mamba’s father can barely 
grow some maize and beans on it after toiling hard. This 
is not enough to feed their family for the whole year.
Peter lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in 
New Zealand where his family runs a wool processing 
factory. Everyday when he returns from school, Peter 
watches his uncle taking care of their sheep. Their sheep 
yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the 
far distance. It is managed in a scientific way using the 
latest technology. Peter’s family also grows vegetables 
through organic farming.
Mamba and Peter stay in two different parts of the 
world and lead very different lives. This difference is 
because of the differences in the quality of land, soil, 
water, natural vegetation, animals and the usage of 
technology. The availability of such resources is the 
main reason places differ from each other. 
LAND
Land is among the most important natural resources.
It covers only about thirty per cent of the total area of 
the earth’s surface and all parts of this small percentage 
are not habitable.
The uneven distribution of population in different 
parts of the world is mainly due to varied characteristics 
of land and climate. The rugged topography, steep slopes 
of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water 
Let’s do 
Observe the land, 
type of soil and 
water availability 
in the region you 
live. Discuss in 
your class, how it 
has influenced the 
lifestyle of people 
there.
Do you know?
Ninety per cent 
of the world 
population
occupies only 
thirty per cent of 
land area. The 
remaining seventy 
per cent of the 
land is either 
sparsely populated 
or uninhabited.
Land,
Soil, Water,
Natural Vegetation
and Wildlife Resources
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


In a small village in Tanzania, Africa, Mamba gets up 
very early in the morning to fetch water. She has to walk 
a long way and returns after a few hours. She then helps 
her mother in the house and joins her brothers in taking 
care of their goats.  All her family owns is a piece of rocky 
land around their small hut. Mamba’s father can barely 
grow some maize and beans on it after toiling hard. This 
is not enough to feed their family for the whole year.
Peter lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in 
New Zealand where his family runs a wool processing 
factory. Everyday when he returns from school, Peter 
watches his uncle taking care of their sheep. Their sheep 
yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the 
far distance. It is managed in a scientific way using the 
latest technology. Peter’s family also grows vegetables 
through organic farming.
Mamba and Peter stay in two different parts of the 
world and lead very different lives. This difference is 
because of the differences in the quality of land, soil, 
water, natural vegetation, animals and the usage of 
technology. The availability of such resources is the 
main reason places differ from each other. 
LAND
Land is among the most important natural resources.
It covers only about thirty per cent of the total area of 
the earth’s surface and all parts of this small percentage 
are not habitable.
The uneven distribution of population in different 
parts of the world is mainly due to varied characteristics 
of land and climate. The rugged topography, steep slopes 
of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water 
Let’s do 
Observe the land, 
type of soil and 
water availability 
in the region you 
live. Discuss in 
your class, how it 
has influenced the 
lifestyle of people 
there.
Do you know?
Ninety per cent 
of the world 
population
occupies only 
thirty per cent of 
land area. The 
remaining seventy 
per cent of the 
land is either 
sparsely populated 
or uninhabited.
Land,
Soil, Water,
Natural Vegetation
and Wildlife Resources
© NCERT
not to be republished
10 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
Study the above table and answer the following:
(i) Name the countries having the highest percentage of land under 
cropland, forest, pasture and other uses.
(ii) How would you relate the land use patterns of these countries 
with the probable economic activities?
logging, desert areas, thick forested areas are normally 
sparsely populated or uninhabited. Plains and river 
valleys offer suitable land for agriculture. Hence, these 
are the densely populated areas of the world.
LAND USE
Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, 
forestry, mining, building houses, roads and setting up of  
industries. This is commonly 
termed as Land use. Can you 
list out the different ways in 
which Mamba’s and Peter’s 
family use their land?
The use of land is 
determined by physical 
factors such as topography, 
soil, climate, minerals and 
availability of water. Human 
factors such as population 
and technology are also 
important determinants of 
land use pattern.
Table 2.1 : Land use in selected countries
Countries
Percentage of area in
Cropland Pasture Forest Other Use
Australia 6 56 14 24
Brazil 9 20 66 5
Canada 5 4 39 52
China 10 34 14 42
France 35 21 27 17
India 57 422 17
Japan 12 2 67 19
Russia 8 5 44 44
UK 29 46 10 16
USA 21 26 32 21
World 11 26 31 32
Notes
Fig. 2.1: Salzburg in Austria
Notice in how many ways  the land has been used in the 
above picture.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


In a small village in Tanzania, Africa, Mamba gets up 
very early in the morning to fetch water. She has to walk 
a long way and returns after a few hours. She then helps 
her mother in the house and joins her brothers in taking 
care of their goats.  All her family owns is a piece of rocky 
land around their small hut. Mamba’s father can barely 
grow some maize and beans on it after toiling hard. This 
is not enough to feed their family for the whole year.
Peter lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in 
New Zealand where his family runs a wool processing 
factory. Everyday when he returns from school, Peter 
watches his uncle taking care of their sheep. Their sheep 
yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the 
far distance. It is managed in a scientific way using the 
latest technology. Peter’s family also grows vegetables 
through organic farming.
Mamba and Peter stay in two different parts of the 
world and lead very different lives. This difference is 
because of the differences in the quality of land, soil, 
water, natural vegetation, animals and the usage of 
technology. The availability of such resources is the 
main reason places differ from each other. 
LAND
Land is among the most important natural resources.
It covers only about thirty per cent of the total area of 
the earth’s surface and all parts of this small percentage 
are not habitable.
The uneven distribution of population in different 
parts of the world is mainly due to varied characteristics 
of land and climate. The rugged topography, steep slopes 
of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water 
Let’s do 
Observe the land, 
type of soil and 
water availability 
in the region you 
live. Discuss in 
your class, how it 
has influenced the 
lifestyle of people 
there.
Do you know?
Ninety per cent 
of the world 
population
occupies only 
thirty per cent of 
land area. The 
remaining seventy 
per cent of the 
land is either 
sparsely populated 
or uninhabited.
Land,
Soil, Water,
Natural Vegetation
and Wildlife Resources
© NCERT
not to be republished
10 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
Study the above table and answer the following:
(i) Name the countries having the highest percentage of land under 
cropland, forest, pasture and other uses.
(ii) How would you relate the land use patterns of these countries 
with the probable economic activities?
logging, desert areas, thick forested areas are normally 
sparsely populated or uninhabited. Plains and river 
valleys offer suitable land for agriculture. Hence, these 
are the densely populated areas of the world.
LAND USE
Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, 
forestry, mining, building houses, roads and setting up of  
industries. This is commonly 
termed as Land use. Can you 
list out the different ways in 
which Mamba’s and Peter’s 
family use their land?
The use of land is 
determined by physical 
factors such as topography, 
soil, climate, minerals and 
availability of water. Human 
factors such as population 
and technology are also 
important determinants of 
land use pattern.
Table 2.1 : Land use in selected countries
Countries
Percentage of area in
Cropland Pasture Forest Other Use
Australia 6 56 14 24
Brazil 9 20 66 5
Canada 5 4 39 52
China 10 34 14 42
France 35 21 27 17
India 57 422 17
Japan 12 2 67 19
Russia 8 5 44 44
UK 29 46 10 16
USA 21 26 32 21
World 11 26 31 32
Notes
Fig. 2.1: Salzburg in Austria
Notice in how many ways  the land has been used in the 
above picture.
© NCERT
not to be republished
 LAND,SOIL, WATER,NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES 11
Land can also be divided on the basis of private 
land and community land. Private land is owned by 
individuals whereas, community land is owned by the 
community for common uses like collection of fodder, 
fruits, nuts or medicinal herbs. These community lands 
are also called common property resources.
People and their demands are ever growing but 
the availability of land is limited. The quality of land also 
differs from place to place. People started encroaching 
the common lands to build up commercial areas, 
housing complexes in the urban areas and to expand 
the agricultural land in the rural areas. Today the vast 
changes in the land use pattern also reflect the cultural 
changes in our society. Land degradation, landslides, 
soil erosion, desertification are the major threats to the 
environment because of the expansion of agriculture 
and constructional activities.
CONSERVATION OF LAND RESOURCE
Growing population and their ever growing demand has 
led to a large scale destruction of forest cover and  arable  
land and has created a fear of losing this natural 
Let’s do 
Talk to some 
elderly person 
in your family or 
neighbourhood and 
collect information 
about changes 
in the land use 
over years, where 
you live. Display 
your findings on a 
bulletin board in 
your classroom.
Fig. 2.2: Change in land use over time
1. 2.
3. 4.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


In a small village in Tanzania, Africa, Mamba gets up 
very early in the morning to fetch water. She has to walk 
a long way and returns after a few hours. She then helps 
her mother in the house and joins her brothers in taking 
care of their goats.  All her family owns is a piece of rocky 
land around their small hut. Mamba’s father can barely 
grow some maize and beans on it after toiling hard. This 
is not enough to feed their family for the whole year.
Peter lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in 
New Zealand where his family runs a wool processing 
factory. Everyday when he returns from school, Peter 
watches his uncle taking care of their sheep. Their sheep 
yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the 
far distance. It is managed in a scientific way using the 
latest technology. Peter’s family also grows vegetables 
through organic farming.
Mamba and Peter stay in two different parts of the 
world and lead very different lives. This difference is 
because of the differences in the quality of land, soil, 
water, natural vegetation, animals and the usage of 
technology. The availability of such resources is the 
main reason places differ from each other. 
LAND
Land is among the most important natural resources.
It covers only about thirty per cent of the total area of 
the earth’s surface and all parts of this small percentage 
are not habitable.
The uneven distribution of population in different 
parts of the world is mainly due to varied characteristics 
of land and climate. The rugged topography, steep slopes 
of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water 
Let’s do 
Observe the land, 
type of soil and 
water availability 
in the region you 
live. Discuss in 
your class, how it 
has influenced the 
lifestyle of people 
there.
Do you know?
Ninety per cent 
of the world 
population
occupies only 
thirty per cent of 
land area. The 
remaining seventy 
per cent of the 
land is either 
sparsely populated 
or uninhabited.
Land,
Soil, Water,
Natural Vegetation
and Wildlife Resources
© NCERT
not to be republished
10 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
Study the above table and answer the following:
(i) Name the countries having the highest percentage of land under 
cropland, forest, pasture and other uses.
(ii) How would you relate the land use patterns of these countries 
with the probable economic activities?
logging, desert areas, thick forested areas are normally 
sparsely populated or uninhabited. Plains and river 
valleys offer suitable land for agriculture. Hence, these 
are the densely populated areas of the world.
LAND USE
Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, 
forestry, mining, building houses, roads and setting up of  
industries. This is commonly 
termed as Land use. Can you 
list out the different ways in 
which Mamba’s and Peter’s 
family use their land?
The use of land is 
determined by physical 
factors such as topography, 
soil, climate, minerals and 
availability of water. Human 
factors such as population 
and technology are also 
important determinants of 
land use pattern.
Table 2.1 : Land use in selected countries
Countries
Percentage of area in
Cropland Pasture Forest Other Use
Australia 6 56 14 24
Brazil 9 20 66 5
Canada 5 4 39 52
China 10 34 14 42
France 35 21 27 17
India 57 422 17
Japan 12 2 67 19
Russia 8 5 44 44
UK 29 46 10 16
USA 21 26 32 21
World 11 26 31 32
Notes
Fig. 2.1: Salzburg in Austria
Notice in how many ways  the land has been used in the 
above picture.
© NCERT
not to be republished
 LAND,SOIL, WATER,NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES 11
Land can also be divided on the basis of private 
land and community land. Private land is owned by 
individuals whereas, community land is owned by the 
community for common uses like collection of fodder, 
fruits, nuts or medicinal herbs. These community lands 
are also called common property resources.
People and their demands are ever growing but 
the availability of land is limited. The quality of land also 
differs from place to place. People started encroaching 
the common lands to build up commercial areas, 
housing complexes in the urban areas and to expand 
the agricultural land in the rural areas. Today the vast 
changes in the land use pattern also reflect the cultural 
changes in our society. Land degradation, landslides, 
soil erosion, desertification are the major threats to the 
environment because of the expansion of agriculture 
and constructional activities.
CONSERVATION OF LAND RESOURCE
Growing population and their ever growing demand has 
led to a large scale destruction of forest cover and  arable  
land and has created a fear of losing this natural 
Let’s do 
Talk to some 
elderly person 
in your family or 
neighbourhood and 
collect information 
about changes 
in the land use 
over years, where 
you live. Display 
your findings on a 
bulletin board in 
your classroom.
Fig. 2.2: Change in land use over time
1. 2.
3. 4.
© NCERT
not to be republished
12 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
resource. Therefore, the present rate of degradation of 
land resources must be checked. Afforestation, land 
reclamation, regulated use of chemical pesticide and 
fertilisers and checks on overgrazing are some of the 
common methods used to conserve land.
Landslides
Landslides are simply defined as the mass movement 
of rock, debris or earth down a slope. They often take 
place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and 
volcanoes. A prolonged spell of rainfall can cause 
heavy landslide that can block the flow of river for 
quite some time. The formation of river blocks can 
cause havoc to the settlements downstream on its 
bursting. In the hilly terrain landslides have been a 
major and widely spread natural disaster that often 
strike life and property and occupy a position of major 
concern.
A Case Study
A massive landslide hit Pangi village near Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district of 
Himachal Pradesh and damaged a 200-meter stretch of old Hindustan-Tibet 
road, National Highway - 22. This landslide was triggered by intense blasting 
at Pangi village. Due to the blasting this weak zone of slope collapsed and 
caused intense damage to the road and nearby villages. The Pangi village was 
completely vacated to avoid any possible loss of life.
Mitigation Mechanism
Advancement in scientific techniques has empowered us to understand what 
factors cause landslides and how to manage them. Some broad mitigation 
techniques of landslide are as follows:
• Hazard mapping locate areas prone to 
landslides. Hence, such areas can be avoided 
for building settlements.
• Construction of retention wall to stop land from 
slipping.
• Increase in the vegetation cover is an effective 
way to arrest landslide.
• The surface drainage control works are 
implemented to control the movement of 
landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
A Landslide
Retention Wall
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


In a small village in Tanzania, Africa, Mamba gets up 
very early in the morning to fetch water. She has to walk 
a long way and returns after a few hours. She then helps 
her mother in the house and joins her brothers in taking 
care of their goats.  All her family owns is a piece of rocky 
land around their small hut. Mamba’s father can barely 
grow some maize and beans on it after toiling hard. This 
is not enough to feed their family for the whole year.
Peter lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in 
New Zealand where his family runs a wool processing 
factory. Everyday when he returns from school, Peter 
watches his uncle taking care of their sheep. Their sheep 
yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the 
far distance. It is managed in a scientific way using the 
latest technology. Peter’s family also grows vegetables 
through organic farming.
Mamba and Peter stay in two different parts of the 
world and lead very different lives. This difference is 
because of the differences in the quality of land, soil, 
water, natural vegetation, animals and the usage of 
technology. The availability of such resources is the 
main reason places differ from each other. 
LAND
Land is among the most important natural resources.
It covers only about thirty per cent of the total area of 
the earth’s surface and all parts of this small percentage 
are not habitable.
The uneven distribution of population in different 
parts of the world is mainly due to varied characteristics 
of land and climate. The rugged topography, steep slopes 
of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water 
Let’s do 
Observe the land, 
type of soil and 
water availability 
in the region you 
live. Discuss in 
your class, how it 
has influenced the 
lifestyle of people 
there.
Do you know?
Ninety per cent 
of the world 
population
occupies only 
thirty per cent of 
land area. The 
remaining seventy 
per cent of the 
land is either 
sparsely populated 
or uninhabited.
Land,
Soil, Water,
Natural Vegetation
and Wildlife Resources
© NCERT
not to be republished
10 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
Study the above table and answer the following:
(i) Name the countries having the highest percentage of land under 
cropland, forest, pasture and other uses.
(ii) How would you relate the land use patterns of these countries 
with the probable economic activities?
logging, desert areas, thick forested areas are normally 
sparsely populated or uninhabited. Plains and river 
valleys offer suitable land for agriculture. Hence, these 
are the densely populated areas of the world.
LAND USE
Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, 
forestry, mining, building houses, roads and setting up of  
industries. This is commonly 
termed as Land use. Can you 
list out the different ways in 
which Mamba’s and Peter’s 
family use their land?
The use of land is 
determined by physical 
factors such as topography, 
soil, climate, minerals and 
availability of water. Human 
factors such as population 
and technology are also 
important determinants of 
land use pattern.
Table 2.1 : Land use in selected countries
Countries
Percentage of area in
Cropland Pasture Forest Other Use
Australia 6 56 14 24
Brazil 9 20 66 5
Canada 5 4 39 52
China 10 34 14 42
France 35 21 27 17
India 57 422 17
Japan 12 2 67 19
Russia 8 5 44 44
UK 29 46 10 16
USA 21 26 32 21
World 11 26 31 32
Notes
Fig. 2.1: Salzburg in Austria
Notice in how many ways  the land has been used in the 
above picture.
© NCERT
not to be republished
 LAND,SOIL, WATER,NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES 11
Land can also be divided on the basis of private 
land and community land. Private land is owned by 
individuals whereas, community land is owned by the 
community for common uses like collection of fodder, 
fruits, nuts or medicinal herbs. These community lands 
are also called common property resources.
People and their demands are ever growing but 
the availability of land is limited. The quality of land also 
differs from place to place. People started encroaching 
the common lands to build up commercial areas, 
housing complexes in the urban areas and to expand 
the agricultural land in the rural areas. Today the vast 
changes in the land use pattern also reflect the cultural 
changes in our society. Land degradation, landslides, 
soil erosion, desertification are the major threats to the 
environment because of the expansion of agriculture 
and constructional activities.
CONSERVATION OF LAND RESOURCE
Growing population and their ever growing demand has 
led to a large scale destruction of forest cover and  arable  
land and has created a fear of losing this natural 
Let’s do 
Talk to some 
elderly person 
in your family or 
neighbourhood and 
collect information 
about changes 
in the land use 
over years, where 
you live. Display 
your findings on a 
bulletin board in 
your classroom.
Fig. 2.2: Change in land use over time
1. 2.
3. 4.
© NCERT
not to be republished
12 RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
resource. Therefore, the present rate of degradation of 
land resources must be checked. Afforestation, land 
reclamation, regulated use of chemical pesticide and 
fertilisers and checks on overgrazing are some of the 
common methods used to conserve land.
Landslides
Landslides are simply defined as the mass movement 
of rock, debris or earth down a slope. They often take 
place in conjunction with earthquakes, floods and 
volcanoes. A prolonged spell of rainfall can cause 
heavy landslide that can block the flow of river for 
quite some time. The formation of river blocks can 
cause havoc to the settlements downstream on its 
bursting. In the hilly terrain landslides have been a 
major and widely spread natural disaster that often 
strike life and property and occupy a position of major 
concern.
A Case Study
A massive landslide hit Pangi village near Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district of 
Himachal Pradesh and damaged a 200-meter stretch of old Hindustan-Tibet 
road, National Highway - 22. This landslide was triggered by intense blasting 
at Pangi village. Due to the blasting this weak zone of slope collapsed and 
caused intense damage to the road and nearby villages. The Pangi village was 
completely vacated to avoid any possible loss of life.
Mitigation Mechanism
Advancement in scientific techniques has empowered us to understand what 
factors cause landslides and how to manage them. Some broad mitigation 
techniques of landslide are as follows:
• Hazard mapping locate areas prone to 
landslides. Hence, such areas can be avoided 
for building settlements.
• Construction of retention wall to stop land from 
slipping.
• Increase in the vegetation cover is an effective 
way to arrest landslide.
• The surface drainage control works are 
implemented to control the movement of 
landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
A Landslide
Retention Wall
© NCERT
not to be republished
 LAND,SOIL, WATER,NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES 13
Do you know? 
It takes hundreds 
of years to make 
just one centimetre 
of soil.
Fig. 2.4: Factors affecting soil formation
Glossary
Weathering
The breaking 
up and decay of 
exposed rocks, 
by temperature 
changes, frost 
action, plants, 
animals and man.
SOIL
The thin layer of grainy substance covering the surface 
of the earth is called soil. It is closely linked to land. 
Landforms determine the type of soil. Soil is made 
up of organic matter, minerals and weathered rocks 
found on the earth. This happens through the process 
of weathering. The right mix of minerals and organic 
matter make the soil fertile.
Fig. 2.3: Soil Profile
FACTORS OF SOIL FORMATION
The major factors of soil formation are the nature of the 
parent rock and climatic factors. Other factors are the 
topography, role of organic material and time taken for 
the composition of soil formation. All these differ from 
place to place.
Climate
Temperature,
Rainfall influence 
rate of weathering
and humus 
Time
Determines thickness 
of soil profile
Soil
Flora, Fauna and
Micro-organism
Affect the rate of humus
formation
Relief
Altitude and 
slope, determine 
accumulation
of soil 
Parent Rock
Determines colour, 
texture, chemical 
properties
 mineral, content, 
permeability
Top soil with humus and 
vegetation
Sub soil with sand, silt and 
clay
Weathered rock material
Parent rock
© NCERT
not to be republished
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