Zeolitic soils of the Deccan basalt areas in India: their pedology and edaphology
Zeolites play an important role in modifying the chemis-try, physics and biology of soils. Here we review the status of the pedology and edaphology of the zeolitic soils of the Deccan basalt areas of India. Research has been mainly conducted with clinoptilolite (a potas-sium-rich zeolite). However, some basic research has been conducted on zeolitic (heulandites, calcium-rich zeolites) soils of India developed from the Deccan basalts. The results of such research have added to basic understanding of the pedology of tropical soils; and have enhanced our understanding of edaphology related to the use of zeolitic sodic and non-sodic shrinkswell soils (Vertisols) for cultivating crops with-out causing any degradation in soil properties, but with an improvement in organic carbon status. Res-earch is needed on the specific role of heulandites in the presence of K+ and NH+4 fixing clay minerals in soil environments. Identification of soil zeolites by deter-mining cation exchange capacity and extractable bases is possible when sophisticated instrumental facilities are not available. The need for future research on the pedology and chemistry of zeolitic soils for their sustainable use for agricultural production and envi-ronmental management is emphasized.