NCERT Class 9 Solutions: Forest society and colonialism (India and the Contemporary World-I) Chapter 4– Part 1

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Q-1. Discuss how the changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people:

  1. Shifting cultivators

  2. Nomadic and pastoralist communities

  3. Firms trading in timber/forest produce

  4. Plantation owners

  5. Kings/British officials engaged in shikar


  1. Shifting cultivators

    • During the colonial period the main impact of the forest management was on the lives of shifting cultivators and for centuries these cultivators were known as ‘slash and burn agriculture’ or ‘Swidden agriculture’.

      Swidden agriculture

      Swidden Agriculture

      Swidden agriculture

    • European foresters observed that, it was harmful method for cultivation, especially harmful for the forests. So the British Government banned the shifting cultivation and kept these forests as they were.

      Steps in slash and burn agriculture

      Slash and Burn Agriculture

      Steps in slash and burn agriculture

    • So that many communities had to compulsorily move from their homes which were in the forests and their old profession of shifting agriculture was stopped. They were forced to change their occupations while some of them fought through large and small revolts against government.

  2. Nomadic and pastoralist communities

  • The British Government had reserved many areas of forest so that many travelling and pastoral communities such as the Korava, Karacha and Yerukula of the Madras Presidency had lost incomes.

  • These group were completely dependent on the forest and due to the new forest management some of these communities were now marked ‘criminal tribes’.

  • They were forced to work in factories, mines, and plantations under government supervision and they also were forced to follow new systems and reorganize their lives.

C. Firms trading in timber/forest produce

  • The reservation policy of the British affected the prospects of many firms trading in timber and forest produce.

  • The new policy required them to not cut trees and collect timber. This timber was required by the British to construct their ship and railway sleepers.

  • They were barred from collecting other forest products such as ivory, herbs, silk, coconuts, bamboo, spices, fibers, gums, resins etc. for trading.

  • Their trading career was over which was totally based on forest produce.

  • The European trading firms got the sole right to trade in the forest products of certain areas as permitted by the British Government.

  1. Plantation owners

    • Plantation owners were mainly Europeans, they found that more forest land could be cleared for plantation.

    • The British Government clearly announced that their forestry system would be based on scientific forestry for ex. Plantations.

    • So the Plantation owner gained because the British Government has allotted large forest area to European Planters.

  2. Kings/British officials engaged in shikar

  • Under the colonial rule the Indian Kings and British officials could hunt deer, partridges and other animals that’s way many species of animals such as tigers, leopards, wolves etc. became extinct.

  • Then the environmentalists and conservators recognized that many species of animals required protection and the policies were modified.

Q-2. What are the similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and in Java?


Location of Java Island and Indoasia

Map of Java Island and Indoasia

Location of Java Island and Indoasia

There were many similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and Java which are listed below:

  • Laws of Forest were passed in Java and Bastar and these laws had restricted villager’s access to forests.

  • Villagers can only cut Timber from specified forests and under English supervision.

  • If anyone collect forest products or enters in forest without permit they were severely punished.

  • Both Java and Bastar forest had a forest service managed by the Britishers.

  • Both the forest based on forestry system which was known as scientific forestry.

  • The villagers faced severe hardship in both the places under Forest Acts in their routine activities such as cutting wood for their houses, grazing their cattle, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal.

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