Soil series representing different physiographic units were studied to know the impact of temporal change in land use and cropping system on some soil properties in the northwestern parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The dynamics in land use and cropping system for the period 1983-84, 1996-97 and 2007-2008 and change in soil properties for the period 1983 and 2008 were studied. In Singhpur soil series developed on Shiwalik hills, the soil organic carbon (SOC) content decreased from 0.69% in 1983 to 0.40% in 2008 on account of increased deforestation and soil erosion. However, no significant changes were observed in soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC). In Manjuwal (upper piedmont plain) and Mandiani series (lower piedmonts) slight changes in SOC, pH, EC and calcium carbonate were found. In Naura series (normal soils), occurring in the old flood plain, SOC content of surface soils increased to >1.0% in 2008 compared to 0.41% in 1983 because of shifting of cropping system of maize-wheat to high biomass-producing cropping system (rice-wheat, rice-potato/mustard/peas/sunflower) and addition of fertilizers under high management practices. The soil pH and EC decreased slightly during 1983 to 2008. Similar results were also observed in Bhaura series (salt-affected soils) and Bairsal series in recent flood plains. Thus, the land use and cropping system in less-intensive cultivated areas of Shiwalik hills and piedmonts do not have much influence on the soil properties. However, in intensively cultivated areas of old and recent flood plains, where high biomass-producing rice-wheat system replaced wheat-maize system, the soil properties had changed to a large extent.
Land-Use Dynamics, Physiographic Units, Rice–Wheat Cropping System, Soil Quality Parameters.