Geography of Bihar
Soil is one of the most important resources of a nation. It is the gift of nature of immense value. The most common use of the word soil is in the sense of a medium in which plants grow, although it has a different connotation at different time and place, and for persons engaged in different professions. Almost all the economic activities are directly or indirectly dependent on soil. Thus soil is the backbone of agricultural and industrial development.
Soil has a number of characteristics, which may be regarded as the aggregate of the physical, chemical and biological properties. The Bihar plane consists of a thick alluvial mantle of drift origin overlying in most part. The siwalik and older tertiary rocks. The soil is mainly young loam rejuvenated every year by constant deposition of silt, clay and sand brought by different streams. This soil is deficient in phosphoric acid, nitrogen and humus, but potash and lime are usually present in sufficient quantity.
There are three major types of soil in Bihar:
Piedmont Swamp Soil - found in northwestern part of west Champaran district.
The climate of Bihar is a part of the climatic pattern of the Indian subcontinent. It enjoys a continental monsoon type of climate owing to its great distance from the sea.
The factors affecting the climate of Bihar are:
It extends from 22-degree north to 27-degree latitude. Hence its location is tropical to sub tropical.
Seasons of Bihar and their duration:
Cold weather season - December to February.
Hot weather season – March to May.
Southwest monsoon – June to September.
Retreating southwest monsoon – October to November.
Bihar lies in the tropical to sub tropical region. Rainfall here is the most significant factor in determining the nature of vegetation. Bihar has a monsoon climate with an average annual rainfall of 1200 mm.
The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and Dun ranges in Champaran constitute another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consists of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 mm and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the favoured areas. The hot and dry summer gives the deduous forests. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta (Sal), Shisham, Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. This type of forests also occurs in Saharasa and Purnia districts.
The topography of Bihar can be easily described as a fertile alluvial plain occupying the Gangetic Valley. The plain extends from the foothills of the Himalayas in the north to a few miles south of the river Ganges as it flows through the State from the west to the east. Rich farmland and lush orchards extend throughout the state. Following are the major crops: paddy, wheat, lentils, sugarcane, jute (hemp, related to the marijuana plant, but a source of tough fibers and "gunny bags"). Also, cane grows wild in the marshes of West Champaran. The principal fruits are: mangoes, banana, jack fruit and litchis. This is one the very few areas outside China which produces litchi.
Water like ground and mineral resources is of great significance as it provides means of drinking water for man and animals, irrigation for agriculture, industrial uses, production of hydro-electricity, transportation and recreation etc. The importance of water is so immense that the people in ancient times worshipped it.
Bihar is richly endowed with water resources, both the ground water resource and the surface water resource. Not only by rainfall but it has considerable water supply from the rivers which flow within the territory of the State. Ganga is the main river which is joined by tributaries with their sources in the Himalayas. Some of them are Saryu (Ghaghra), Gandak, Budhi Gandak, Bagmati, Kamla-Balan and Mahananda.
There are some other rivers that start from the platue area and meet in Ganges or its associate rivers after flowing towards north. Some of them are Sone, Uttari Koyal, Punpun, Panchane and Karmnasha.
There are several rivers in Bihar which contribute a lot to the peoples of Bihar. These rivers make the water available for irrigation purpose and also help in generating the hydro-thermal energy for the state. Apart from this they provide a medium for water transport, provide fishes for fishery industry and enrich the natural resources of state in many other ways.
All the above rivers have their impact on the Bihar plain. State also has non-exhaustible source of ground water which is in use for drinking purposes, irrigation and industries.
Steatite - 945 Tonnes
Pyrites - 9,539 Tonnes
Quartzite - 14,865 Tonnes
Crude Mica - 53 Tonnes
Limestone - 4,78,000 Tonnes