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NCERT Solutions for Class 9th History


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Chapter 4. Forest Society and Colonialism

NCERT Exercise





Q1. discuss how  the changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people:

 (i) Shifting cultivators.

(ii) Nomadic and pastoralist communicates.

(iii) Firms trending in timber/ forest produce.

(iv) Plantation owner.

(v) Kings/British officials engaged in shikar

Ans. (i) Shifting cultivator : They were forcibly displaced from their homes in the forests. some had to change occupations, while some resisted through large and small rebellions e.g. Birsa munda of chhota Nagpur shiddu and kanu in the santhal pargana.

(ii)  Nomadic and pastoralist communities: Grazing and hunting by nomadic and pastoralist communities were restricted. As a result, many of them like the Korava,  Karacha and Yerukula of the madras presidency lost their livelihoods. Some of them began to be called "criminal tribes" and were forced to work instead in factories, mines and plantations under government supervision.

(iii) firms trading in timber/forest produce: The British administration gave European firms the sole right to trade in forest products. This proved to be a boon  for firms  trading in timber and other forest produce. They began cutting trees indiscriminately and earned good profit. Forests around the railway tracks started fast disappearing.   

(iv) Plantation owners: Large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantation to meet Europe's growing need for these commodities. The colonial government took vast areas to European planters at cheap rates. These areas were enclosed and cleared off forests and planted with tea or coffee. These planters earned huge profits by engaging with workers at low wages.

(v) Kings/British officials engaged in shikar: The British saw larger animals as signs of a wild, primitive and savage society. Hence, they encouraged hunting of wild animals. They gave rewards for the killing of tigers, wolves and other large animals. As a result, kings and British officials got engaged in these activities and earned huge reward

Q2. What are the similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and in Java?

Ans. The forests in Bastar were managed by the British colonial power while those in Java were managed by the Dutch colonial power. But there were m any similarities in the laws for forest control in Baster and Java.

(i) Like the British, the Dutch wanted timber form Java to build ships. They restricted villages from practising shifting cultivation and their access to forests.

(ii) Both the colonial powers enacted laws in their own favour and exploited forests on a massive scale.

(iii) Both imposed these laws on the villages or the forest dwellers with great severity. The forest laws deprived people of their customary rights to forest products such as roots, leaves, fruits, etc. They were fined if they dared to enter the forest without permission.

(iv)The policies of both the colonial powers were too severe to satisfy the villagers. As a result, the villagers became aggressive in due course. They began to view their masters as their enemies. They began to resist them through large and small rebellions.

Q3. Between 1880 and 1920, forest cover in the Indian subcontinent declined by  9.7 million hectares, from 108.9 million hectares. Discuss the role of the following factors in this decline:

(i)  Railways

(ii)  Ship-building

(iii) Agricultural expansion

(iv) Commercial farming

(v)  Tea/ coffee plantations

(vi) Adivasis and other peasant users

Ans. Railways : Railways were essential for colonial trade and for the movement of imperial goods. To run locomotives wood was needed as fuel, and to lay railway lines, sleepers were essential to hold the tracks together.

From the 1860s. the railway network expanded rapidly. By 1890, about 25,500 km of track had been laid. In 1`946, the length of the tracks had increased to over 765,000 km. As the railway tracks spread through India, a larger and larger number of trees were felled. Forests, for the railway tracks, started disappearing.

(ii) Ship-building: It was one of the most important factors that led to the depletion of forest in India. It is worth-mentioning here that the imperial power could not be protected and maintained without ships. But the fact was that oak forests in England began disappearing by the early 19th century. This created a problem of timber supply for the Royal Navy. Now it became difficult to build English ships without regular supply of strong and durable timber. By the 1820s,seacher parties were sent to explore the forest resources of India. Within a decade, trees were being felled on a massive scale and vast quantities of timber were being exported from India.

(iii) Agricultural expansion: In the early 19th century, the colonial state thought that forests were unproductive. They were considered to be brought under cultivation so that the land could yield agricultural products and revenue and enhance the income of the state. So between 1880 and 1920, cultivated area rose by 6.7 million hectares.

(iv) Commercial farming : The British needed commercial crops like jute, sugar, wheat and cotton. The demand for these crops increased in 19 the century Europe where food grains were required to feed the growing urban population an d raw materials were required for industrial production As a result, forests were cut on a large scale to bring land under  plough.

(v) Tea/coffee plantation : Large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantation to meet Europe's growing need for these commodities. The colonial government took over the forests and gave vast areas to European planters at cheep rates. These were enclosed and cleared of forests and planted with tea or coffee.

(vi) Adivasis and other peasant users:  They also played a major role in the depletion of forests. They got everything from forests such as fuel, fodder and leaves. This badly affected the forest cover. Many adivasis practised cultivation. In this type of cultivation, parts of forest are cut and burnt in rotation. Seeds are sown in the ashes after the first mansoon rain and crop is harvested by October- November. This process was harmful for the forests. There was always a danger of forest fire.

Q4.Why are forest affected by wars?


(i) Forests are badly affected by wars. Both the World Wars played havoc with the forests. In India, working plans were abandoned during these wars and the forests department cut trees freely to meet British war needs.

(ii) In Java, just before the Japanese occupied the region, the Dutch followed' 'a scorched earth' policy, destroying saw-mills and burning huge piles of giant teak logs so that they would not fall into Japanese hands.

(iii) The Japanese then exploited the forests recklessly for their own war industries forcing forest dwellers to cut down forests.

(iv) Many foresters and villagers used this opportunity to expand cultivation in the forest. After the war was over.  It became difficult for the Indonesian forest service to get this land back.


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