A fertile terrain of the Gangetic plain, the sprawling State spread over in 2,40,928 sq. km. area, touches the Himalayan foothills to the north and the Vindhya ranges to the south, surrounded by the states of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and the country of Nepal.
It is here that one can dive down the stream of ancient Indian philosophy. It is the land which is glorified by the stream of Indian spirituality i.e. the great Ganges & Yamuna and the footprints of legends like Ram-Krishna-Buddha-Jain Tirthankars & Sufi Saints and the sites associated with them.
The minerals found in Uttar Pradesh include limestone which is found in Guruma-Kanach- Bapuhari in Mirzapur district and Kajrahat in Sonebhadra district; dolomite which is found in Mirzapur, Sonebhadra and Banda, glass-sand found in Karchhana tehsil of Allahabad district, Karwi in Banda district and Mau district; marble found in Mirzapur and Sonebhadra; bauxite found in Rajhgewan in Banda district; non-plastic fireclay found in Bansi, Makri-Khoh area of Mirzapur district; and Uranium found in Lalitpur district. Besides, Barytes and Edalusite are found in the districts of Mirzapur and Sonebhadra. Sand-stone, pebbles, reh, salt punter, marang, sand and other minor minerals are also found in the State.
Flora and fauna
Forests constitute about 12.8% of the total geographical area of the state. The Himalayan region and the terai and bhabhar area in the Gangetic plain have most of the forests. The Vindhyan forests consist mostly of scrub. The districts of Jaunpur, Ghazipur and Ballia have no forest land, while 31 other district have less forest area.
Near the snow line there are forests of rhododendrons and Betula utilis (Bhojpatra). Below them are forests of silver fir, spruce, deodar, chir and oak. On the foothills and in the terai-bhabhar area grows the sal and gigantic haldu. Along river courses the shisham grows in abundance.
The Vindhyan forests have dhak, teak, mahua, salai, chironji and tendu. The hill forests also have a large variety of medicinal herbs. Sal, Chir, Deodar and sain yield building timber and railway sleepers. Chir also yield resin, the chief source of resin and turpentine. Sisso is mostly used for furniture while Khair yields Kattha, which is taken with betel leaves or Pan. Semal and gutel are used as matchwood and Kanju in the plywood industry.
Babul provides the principal tanning material of the state. Some of the grasses such asbaib and bamboo are raw material for the paper industry. Tendu leaves are used in making bidis (Indian cigarettes), and cane is used in baskets and furniture.
Corresponding to its variegated topography and climate, the state has a wealth of animal life. Its avifauna is among the richest in the country.
Animals that can be found in the jungles of Uttar Pradesh include Tigers, Leopards, wild Bears, sloth Bears, Chital, Sambhars, Jackals, Porcupines, jungle cats, Hares, squirrels, monitor lizards, and foxes. These can be seen in all but the highest mountain ranges.
The most common birds include the crow, pigeon, dove, jungle fowl, black partridge, house sparrow, peafowl, blue jay, parakeet, kite, mynah, quail, bulbul, kingfisher and woodpecker.
"Species of grasses have been collected from the Gangetic plain. Herbs include medicinal plants like Rauwolfia serpentina, Viala serpens, podophyllum, hexandrum and Ephecra gerardiana. "
Certain species are found in special habitats. The elephant is confined to the terai and the foothills. The chinkara and the sandgrouse prefer a dry climate, and are native to the Vindhyan forests. The musk deer and the brown bear is found in the higher Himalayas. Among the game birds resident in the state are the snipe, comb duck, grey duck, cotton teal and whistling teal.
There are several parks and sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh that are home to a variety of species that are extinct in other parts of North India, such as the endangered Bengal Florican and the successfully reintroduced one-horned Rhinoceros. The splendid and vast hinterlands of this state are alive with exceptionally diverse wildlife just waiting to be discovered. So rich is the population of the avifauna here that the birds not only cluster around lakes but also agricultural fields in various parts of the state.
The State has Dudhwa National Park and Series of bird & wildlife sanctuaries which have a wide variety of exotic birds that flock to the lakes, including the black-necked Stork, the stunning Sarus crane, several vulture species and more.