Types of Soil in Pakistan – Soil Classification & Characteristics

The physiography of Pakistan is very unique and has diverse landscape in all over the country, with very distinctly climate in the whole country. Due to these reasons, the physiography of Pakistan is divided according to soil classification.

The type of soil formed is a function of topography, climate, vegetation, and the parentrocks from which the soil material is derived.

Soil texture varies with the size of the soil particles. Coarse textured soils are sandy, fine textured soils are clayey, and a mixture of sand and clay is called loam. Soils of high organic content are darker in color, and have more nutrients for plant growth than those of low organic content. Since most of Pakistan is arid or semi-arid, the soils contain little organic matter.

soil in pakistan

Soil-forming processes are complex and continuous. As a result, soils vary in their chemical composition, color, texture, and organic content from place to place. The discussion describes only the major Ecological zones of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Ecological Zones

Pakistan has divided in Major Nine Ecological Zones

1: Northern Mountains Regions

2: Western Mountains Regions

3: Potwar Plateau

4: Sandy Deserts

5: Piedmont Plains

6: Old River Terraces

7: Sub-Recent River Plains

8: Recent River Plains

9: Indus Delta

Sr.No Name of Zone  Geographical Coverage Soil Types Major Crops


Indus delta


Thatta, Badin


Clayey and Silty


Rice, Pulses, Sugarcane, Berseem, Banana




Southern Irrigated Plains


Hyderabad, Sanghar, Dadu, Khairpur, Larkana, Sukkur, R.Y. Khan, Shikarpur, Jacobabad


Calcareous, Loamy, Silty, Clayey and Sandy


Cotton, Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane, Mustard, Sorghum, Berseem




Sandy Desert (a)


Tharparkar, Nawabshah, Bahawalpur, NoderoFeroz, Mirpur Khas, Cholistan


Sandy, Clayey and Loamy


Guar, Millet, Wheat, Castor




Sandy Desert (b)


Muzaffaragarh, Layyah, Sargodha, Khushab


Calcareous, Sandy, Loamy


Gram,Wheat, Cotton, Guar, Sugarcane, Millet




Northern Irrigated Plains (a)


Bahawalnagar, Multan, Khanewal,, Lodhran, Vehari, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Okara, Lahore, Kasure, T.T.Singh, Faisalabad, Jhang, Sheikhpura, Gujranwala, Hafizabad


Sandy, Clayey, Calcareous, Silt-loam


Wheat, Cotton, Millet, Sugarcane, Maize, Berseem, Citrus, Mango, Melons, Oil seeds




Northern Irrigated Plains(b)


Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi


Clayey, Moderately Calcareous


Sugarcane, Maize, Gram, Tobacco, Wheat, Millet, Berseem, Groundnut, Sugar beet, Pears, Plum




Barani Lands


Bannu, Mianwali, Attock, Rawalpindi, Jehlum, Gujrat, Sialkot, Mandi Baha-ud-din, Lakki Marwat, Islamabad, Bhakkar, Chakwal, Narowal


Silt loam, Silty clay loam, Clay loam


Wheat, Millet, Maize, Rice, Oil seeds, Pulses, Fodder crops




Wet Mountains


Abbottabad, Hazara, Mansehra, Kohistan, Haripur, Battagram


Silt loam, Silty clays


Maize, Rice, Wheat, Apples




Northern Dry Mountains


Chitral, Dir (Lower and  Upper), Swat, Malakand, FATA, Bunair


Clayey, non-Calcareous and acidic (above 2100 altitude) Calcareous at lower altitude


Maize, Wheat, Rice




Western Dry Mountains


Kohat, Karak, Tank, Zhob, Loralai,Kalat, Sibbi, Quetta, Kachhi, Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Nasirabad, Kohlu, Bolan, Tambo, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi, Musa khail, Burkhan, Ziarat, Kila Saifullah, DeraBugti, Mastung


Calcareous loamy


Wheat, Maize, Apples, Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Grapes




Dry Western Plateau


Kharan, Awaran, Chagai, Lasbella, Karachi, Mekran, Turbat, Khuzdar, Gwadar, Panjgor


Strongly Calcareous, Silt loams


Wheat, Sorghum, Millet, Melons




Sulaiman Piedmont


D.I. Khan, D.G.Khan, Rajanpur


Loamy, Clayey, Strongly Calcareous


Wheat, Sorghum, Millet, Gram, Mustard, Rice


The Role of Soil Classification in Agriculture Development

The soil classify for getting better result from Pakistan’s agriculture and soil classification identify the soil category of area features, climatic conditions and types of soil and after classification divided the areas according to soil categories. Every kind of crop, vegetation, trees and forests depend up the soil Material.  These are cultivated according to the present soil Material for getting better output of any kind of crops.

Benefits of Soil Classification as All these information can help in progress of agriculture departments

  • In soil classification, we collect data on all soil properties and its help in soil Management and its use for specific purposes.
  • We can determine the nutrient requirements for crops with the help of soil properties.
  • Soil classifications provide information about a soil resources and its use for Pakistani agricultural planning and development.
  • Through soil classification, we can get detail about a huge area, which is suitable for agriculture or for industries.
  • Soil classifications provide information about the sandy Mountainous areas of Pakistan, that these are not suitable for agriculture on national level.
  • Changa Manga forest is totally depends upon the soil, because soil of that area is favourable for forest. Changa Manga forest plays a vital role in the Agriculture contribution to GDP of Pakistan.
  • Government can determine the ways of progress in agriculture through soil classification in agriculture, if they use right place for the agriculture.
  • A place is not suitable of every kind of agriculture, because different places have different types of soil. By using the soil classification, we can determine the exit place for exit crop.
  • Planning for soil and water resources can be determined by the soil classification.

The former can maintain the required level of soil and can improve the yield of their crops, if they use their land according to soil classification.

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