Notes of Ch 4 Forest Society and Colonialism| Class 9th History

Study Material and Notes of Ch 4 Forest Society and Colonialism Class 9th History

• Forest provide us many products which are of great importance.

• It supports a large variety of flora and fauna such as in Amazon forests or in the Western Ghats.

Why Deforestation?

• The disappearance of forests is referred to as deforestation.

Causes of deforestation in India

Land to be Improved

• Forests were unproductive, therefore British brought them under cultivation so that they could increase the income of the state.

Building Ships

• By the 1830s, In India, trees were cut down and exported to England for building royal ships.

Railway Tracks

• Wood was needed for Railways as:
→ Fuel for Trains
→ Railway lines sleepers which were essential to hold the tracks together.


• Large areas of natural forests were also cleared for tea, coffee and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s growing need for these commodities.

The Rise of Commercial Forestry

• British made a German expert, Dietrich Brandis, the first Inspector General of Forests in India.

• Brandis set up the Indian Forest Service in 1864 and helped formulate the Indian Forest Act of

• The Imperial Forest Research Institute was set up in Dehradun in 1906.
→ Scientific forestry was taught there. 
→ In the scientific forestry system, forests with different kinds of trees were replaced by plantations. 
→ Forest management plans were made by forest officials. They planned how much of the forest had to be cut and how much had to be replanted.

• The Forest Acts divided forests into:
→ Reserved Forests - these were the best forests. Villagers could not enter these forests
→ Protected Forests - villagers can enter these forests but with permission
→ Village Forests: The villagers were dissatisfied with the Forest Acts. They were now forced to steal wood from the forests. If they were caught, they were punished.

How were the Lives of People Affected?

What is Shifting Cultivation?

• An area is cleared for cultivation for a period of time after that it left uncultivated so it could gain fertility.

• The colonial foresters did not favour this system as it made it difficult for the government to calculate taxes, there is a danger of fire and also that no trees could grow on this kind of land.

Consequences of banning shifting cultivation

• Some people changed occupations

• Some people resisted through large and small rebellions.

Who could Hunt?

• The forest laws forbade the villagers from hunting in the forests but encouraged hunting as a big sport. 

• They felt that the wild animals were savage, wild and primitive, just like the Indian society and that it was their duty to civilise them.

New Trades, New Employments and New Services

• Forest communities rebelled against the changes imposed upon them. 

The People of Bastar

• Bastar is located in the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh.

• The initiative was taken by the Dhurwas of the Kanger forest where reservation first took place. 

• The new law of Forest Act introduced by the Colonial government reserved two-thirds of the forest in 1905.

• The British sent troops to suppress the rebellion. 

• It took them three months to regain control. 

• A victory for the people of Bastar was that the work on reservation was suspended and the area was reduced to half of that planned before 1910.

Changes in Java

The Kalangs

• They rose in rebellion against the Dutch in 1770 but their uprising was suppressed.

Scientific Forestry in Java

• Forest laws were enacted in Java. 

• The villagers resisted these laws. 
• Forest timber was used for ships and railway sleepers.

• The Dutch government used the ‘balandongdiensten’ system for extracting free labour from the villagers.

Samin’s Movement

• Around 1890, Samin of Randublatung village (a teak forest village) questioned the state ownership of forests. 

• A widespread movement spread. 

• They protested by lying on the ground when the Dutch came to survey it and refusing to pay taxes and perform labour.

World Wars and Deforestation 

• The world wars had a major impact on forests. 

• The forest department cut freely to meet the British demands. 

• In Indonesia, the Dutch destroyed sawmills and burnt huge piles of teak logs.

• The Japanese after occupying Indonesia exploited the forests recklessly for their war needs.

New Developments

• The government realised that if forests are to survive, the local community needs to be involved. 

• There are many such examples in India where communities are conserving forests in sacred groves. This looking after is done by each member of the village and everyone is involved.

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