The spatial extent of Jharkhand State is approximately 21° 55’ to 25° 35’ North Latitude and 83° 20’ to 88° 02’ East Longitude. The state is land locked and it shares its boundary with Orissa on the southeast, Chattisgarh on the southwest, Bihar on the north, West Bengal on the east and Uttar Pradesh on the northwest. It comprises of the Chotanagpur Plateau, which forms a part of Deccan bio-geographic province. It is a hilly undulating plateau characterized by predominantly tropical forests and tribal settlements. The State is endowed with natural resources that need to be conserved and utilized in a sustainable manner for all-round development of the state in general and the marginalized tribal population in particular.
The total geographical area of the State is 79.70 lakh hectares, out of which 23.22 lakh hectares (29.33%) are under forests; 5.66 lakh hectares (7.12%) are barren lands; 7.24 lakh hectares (9.10%) are put to non-agricultural use; 0.90 lakh hectares (1.15%) are under pastures & other grazing lands; 3.07 lakh hectares (3.86%) are cultivable wastelands; 0.88 lakh hectares (1.11%) are under miscellaneous trees and groves; 12.04 lakh hectares (15.14%) are current fallows; 8.45 lakh hectares (10.63%) are under other fallows; and 17.95 lakh hectares (22.58%) are the net sown area. The number of electrified villages is 14667 (45.0 per cent of the total villages). 26.0 per cent (8484) per cent of the total villages are connected by roads. The lengths of the National Highways and the State Highways are 1006 and 4662 kms respectively. The state has different relief because of its physiography as it consists of four series of plateaus of having different heights. The highest plateau lies in the west known as Western or Higher Ranchi Plateau or locally known as the Pat region located at 2500 to 3600 feet above sea level covering northern part of the old Ranchi district and the southern edge of the old Palamu district. The term Pat represents a feature similar to a table with steep edges around and a flat top. It is full of dissected hills having a hill station, Netarhat, at the top. The second plateau is known as Ranchi Plateau having a height of 2000 feet composed of gneisses and granites. It is separated by the Damodar trough from the Hazaribagh Plateau. The next plateau is Lower Chotanagpur Plateau consisting mainly of gneisses and granite and partly of schists and other Dharwar rocks.
The other plateaus are the Rajmahal Hills and the Kaimur Plateau. These plateaus are separated by the narrow and steep slopes known as scarps. It is believed that before the Chotanagpur Peneplain was successfully uplifted thrice by the side effect of the three violent Himalayan movements in Tertiary times continued till Pleistocene times resulting in well-known waterfalls like Hundru, Jonha, etc. on the scarps. The first upliftment took place during the Eocene to Oligocene period creating Pat region, the second one during Miocene forming the Ranchi and Hazaribagh Plateau and the third one during Pliocene and Pleistocene period uplifting the outer Chotanagpur Plateau. All plateaus are the parts of the same plain successively uplifted during Tertiary and Pliestocene times. Marvelous eye catching rare geological/geomorphological features like rejuvenated meandering and deep cutting young rivers like Damodar are the uniqueness in the State. It is rate because of combination of senility with the character of young rivers. The state has the luxuriant forests and lush green rolling seasonal meadows. Magnificent undulating hills and valleys are the special attraction. The golden river ‘Swarnarekha’ adds melody in the pristine environment along the course. A combination of table-top flat lands and the peneplain with dome shaped exfoliating hillocks resembling like inverted Nagara (drum) are spread over the state. Further, the Tors or the balanced diamond shaped rocks are also present wonderful nature of the state. The state is one of the largest producers of the mineral resources of the country spreading over majority of the districts with a paradox to be among the bottom lying states in terms of development. An area of 24.4 lakh hectares (30.61%) is under agricultural wastelands that have to be beneficially utilized for rural development.
Jharkhand is endowed with heterogeneous landscape, huge natural resources, dominance of aboriginals habitat and their culture. Heterogeneity is observed in geological formations, physical appearance and patterns of development. Jharkhand the ‘Land of Forests’ is geographically and geologically one of the oldest landmasses, and culturally, one of the oldest regions with vibrant color. This is an integral portion of the Peninsular highland, part of ancient Gondwanaland, portrays areas formed of rock formations ranging from Archeans to Post-tertiary period.