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Wastelands in Bundelkhand

  Rocky wasteland, with or without scrub, covers a large part of the Bundelkhand Intermediate region

Roughly, a total of over 11,000 sq km, or over a sixth of the area of Bundelkhand falls under four broad categories of wasteland, according to estimates given in the Wasteland Atlas of India, prepared by the Department of Land Resources, Government of India, on the basis of satellite data.

The atlas lists nearly 30 different kinds of wastelands found across the country. Among these, wastelands found in Bundelkhand can be grouped as: land affected by shallow, medium or deep gullies; wastelands with or without scrub in lowlands or uplands; degraded notified forest lands and barren, rocky and totally uncultivable land.

Wastelands under main categories (2005)

District Total wastelands in sq km (% of total land) Land affected by gullies, in sq km Wastelands with or without scrub, in sq km Degraded notified forest land, in sq km Barren, rocky land, in sq km
Jhansi 851.59 (16.9%) 117.88 537.62 148.9 36.95
Lalitpur 478.96 (9.5%)   288.09 84.38 104.3
Jalaun 278.15 (6%) 173.48 55.97 48.10  
Hamirpur 184.33 (4.5%) 143.39 25.19 14.32 37.2
Mahoba 156.14 (5%) 11.01 119.9 22.32 2.23
Banda 393.43 (8.4%) 392.73      
Chitrakoot 127.29 (4.3%) 19.89 20.84 30.13 54.31
Datia 606.91 (29.8%) 173.44 249.44 126.54 18.49
Chhatarpur 4325.45 (49.8%) 11.37 3611.21 661.07  
Tikamgarh 1109.99 (22%)   526.95 405.92 335.9
Panna 997.87(14%) 22.59 412.52 540.65 159.06
Damoh 1002.92 (13.7%) 6.54 613.52 370.54  
Sagar 1201.29 (11.7%)   605.17 587.93 6.01

Source: Wastelands Atlas of India, 2005, Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. Minor wasteland areas under some categories not listed.

Over half the total wasteland of the region is wasteland with or without scrub; over half this land is found in the Bundelkhand Intermediate sub-region, in Chhatarpur district. Half the area of the district is wasteland.  

Around a quarter of the total wasteland is degraded notified forest land, found mostly in Bundelkhand Upland (Chhatarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna) and Sagar and Damoh plateaus.

Around a tenth of the wasteland is land affected by gullies, found mostly in Bundelkhand Plain; Datia and Banda districts are the most severely affected.

While barren, rocky land is a natural, fixed feature, land affected by gullies and ravines and degraded forest land can be recovered. However, land affected by gullies and ravines in Bundelkhand is increasing.

According to a report by Pankaj Chaturvedi, in Datia district, around 25,000 hectares of land was to be affected by gully formation in 1971; by 1998, the figure had risen to 28,000 hectares [Chaturvedi].

Some efforts to recover gully land were made in the 1950s and 1960s, but no major programme has been launched in the recent past and various stages of gully formation are proceeding at an uncontrolled rate.

At the first stage, formation of shallow gullies, land can be recovered for agriculture use. However, at the second and third stages, when medium and deep gullies are formed, the land is practically lost forever.

Every year, an additional 0.5% of the total land in Bundelkhand Plain is estimated to be affected by gully formation.

Another kind of land loss, seen in the Bundelkhand Plain, is heavy soil erosion due to over-drainage and flooding (see Soil Loss in Plains) .

A new form of land degradation is growing rapidly in Bundelkhand - due to extensive quarrying. The loss is most visible in Tikamgarh, where according to satellite data used in the 2005 Wasteland Atlas of India, some 20 sq km had already become a mining wasteland. At the rate quarrying is progressing, one can expect similar loss in Jhansi, Chitrakoot and Mahoba districts.


  • Chaturvedi Pankaj, Bihad nigal raha hain, Bundelkhand ki upjau bhoomi in Prakash Bharatendu, Satya Santosh, Ghosh N Shailendra, Chourasia LP, Problems and Potentials of Bundelkhand with Special Reference to Water Resource Base. Atarra (Banda), Centre for Rural Development and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), Vigyan Shiksha Kendra (Atarra): 1998

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