Forest Society and Colonialism Extra Questions and Answers – The British colonial administration in India implemented policies to restrict the use of forests by Indian farmers in order to pursue their own interests in scientific forestry and commercial exploitation of the forests.
These policies had significant consequences for local communities, particularly farmers, who relied on these resources for their livelihoods. The Forest Society and Colonialism Chapter in NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History provides detailed information about these policies and their impact, and includes practice questions to help students understand and analyze this important topic (Forest Act in India).
Forest Society and Colonialism Extra Questions and Answers
1. Discuss how the changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people:
a. Shifting cultivators
b. Nomadic and pastoralist communities
c. Firms trading in timber/forest produce
d. Plantation owners
e. Kings/British officials engaged in shikar (hunting)
a. Shifting cultivators – Shifting cultivators, also known as slash-and-burn farmers, are small-scale farmers who practice a type of agriculture that involves clearing a piece of land, growing crops on it for a few years, and then moving on to a new plot of land when the soil becomes exhausted or the area becomes overgrown with weeds.
European colonists viewed shifting cultivation as a threat to forests and commercial timber forestry due to the potential for fires to spread and destroy valuable timber. As a result, colonial governments often banned this type of agriculture, leading to the loss of livelihoods and displacement of many cultivators.
b. Nomadic and pastoralist communities – Nomadic and pastoralist communities are groups of people who rely on the movement of animals for their livelihood and way of life. Nomadic communities move from place to place in search of resources such as food, water, and shelter, and often rely on animal husbandry as their main source of income. Pastoralist communities, on the other hand, tend to live in more permanent settlements and raise animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle for their livelihood.
The Korava, Karacha, and Yerukula communities, who were nomadic and pastoralist groups in the Madras Presidency, lost their livelihoods when they were designated as “criminal tribes” by British authorities and forced to work in factories, mines, and plantations under government supervision.
c. Firms trading in timber/forest produce – During the colonial period, the British government granted European timber trading firms the exclusive right to trade in forest products in certain areas, while local populations were restricted from grazing and hunting in these areas by law. This policy likely had a significant impact on the livelihoods and resources of the local communities, as they were denied access to the forests and the products that they had traditionally relied on. It may also have contributed to the depletion of forest resources if the European firms engaged in unsustainable logging practices.
d. Plantation owners – During the colonial period, large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for the establishment of tea, coffee, and rubber plantations in order to meet the demand for these commodities in Europe. These plantations were largely owned by Europeans, who were often given land at a discounted price. The land was then enclosed, cleared of forests, and planted with crops such as tea or coffee. This process likely had significant impacts on the local environment and the communities that depended on the forests for their livelihoods, as it resulted in the loss of natural habitat and resources.
e. Kings/British officials engaged in shikar (hunting) – The forest laws enacted during the colonial period deprived forest dwellers of their means of livelihood by forbidding them from hunting, which had previously been a primary source of sustenance for these communities. Instead, hunting became a sport that was primarily enjoyed by kings and British officials, who hunted large game in large numbers, potentially leading to the near extinction of some species. These laws likely had significant impacts on the forest dwellers, as they were denied access to a traditional source of food and income.
2. What are the similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and in Java?
In the region of Bastar in India, the forest management was controlled by the British, while in Java, it was controlled by the Dutch.
- Both the British in Bastar and the Dutch in Java needed timber for railway sleepers.
- Both colonial authorities enacted laws that gave them control over the forests and denied customary rights to forest dwellers.
- Both the Dutch and British banned shifting cultivation, claiming it was harmful to forests.
- Villagers in Bastar were allowed to stay in the forests if they provided free labor to the forest department, while in Java, villages were exempted from paying taxes in exchange for providing free labor to the forest department.
3. Between 1880 and 1920 forests cover in the Indian subcontinent declined by 9.7 million hectares, from 108.6 million hectares to 98.9 million hectares. Discuss the role of the following factors in this decline:
c. Agricultural expansion
d. Commercial farming
e. Tea/Coffee plantations
f. Adivasis and other peasants users
a. Railways – Railways were used to transport troops, goods, and resources, and played a major role in shaping the modern world. Railways were a crucial tool for trade and colonization, and required large amounts of wood in order to build the sleepers that supported the tracks. For one kilometre of track 1760 to 2000 sleepers were required. The demand for these sleepers led to the deforestation of significant areas.
b. Shipbuilding – During the early 19th century, the Royal Navy relied on wooden ships to maintain its colonial possessions. However, this led to deforestation in England as oak forests were cut down to provide the necessary timber. To solve this problem, the British turned to their colonies and cleared large areas of forest there as well. This resulted in significant deforestation in some areas.
c. Agricultural expansion – As the population increased, the demand for food also rose. To meet this demand, forests were cleared to create new agricultural land. The colonial authorities believed that they could increase food production by clearing forests, and viewed forests as unproductive, so they cleared them in large numbers. As a result, agricultural land increased by 6.7 million hectares between 1880 and 1920, with agricultural expansion being a major contributor to deforestation.
d. Commercial farming – When forests are cleared for commercial farming, a variety of plant species are lost as only one type of tree is typically planted for a specific type of plantation. This results in a loss of biodiversity in the area.
e. Tea/Coffee plantations – To meet the increasing demand for tea and coffee, colonial authorities sold large areas of forest land to European plantation companies. These companies then cleared the forests to create tea and coffee plantations, leading to significant deforestation.
f. Adivasis and other peasants users – Shifting cultivation, practiced by Adivasis and other peasant communities, involves cutting down and burning parts of the forest to plant crops. When the soil fertility declines, the process is repeated in a different location. This contributes to deforestation and prevents the growth of new trees due to the loss of soil fertility.
4. Why are forests affected by wars?
Answer – During wars, forests can be damaged or destroyed as they are considered valuable strategic resources. Timber is used to build battlefield assets like towers, guard posts, and army camps because it is easily maintained and can be easily removed if needed. The “scorched earth” policy may also be implemented to prevent enemy forces from using forest resources.
This was the case when the Dutch burned large areas of forest in Indonesia during World War II to prevent the Japanese from using them. However, when the Japanese did gain control of the forests, they exploited the timber resources for their own purposes, resulting in negative impacts on the local ecology for many years.
5. What were the consequences of the forest laws which the Dutch enacted in Java?
Answer – The forest laws enacted by the Dutch in Java had significant consequences for the people of Java and the environment.
One consequence was the destruction of forests and natural habitats. The Dutch implemented policies that promoted the extraction of natural resources, including timber, rubber, and other forest products. This led to widespread deforestation and habitat destruction, which had negative impacts on local ecosystems and the people who relied on them.
Another consequence was the displacement of indigenous communities. The Dutch often forced local people to leave their land to make way for plantations and other development projects. This caused many people to lose their homes and livelihoods, and contributed to widespread poverty and social unrest.
The forest laws also led to the exploitation and mistreatment of local workers. Many people were forced to work on plantations and other projects for low wages and under harsh conditions. This contributed to the suffering and impoverishment of many people in Java.
Answer – Bastar is a region located in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, known for its diverse cultural and linguistic heritage. The people of Bastar speak a variety of languages, including Gondi, Halbi, Agariya, and others, reflecting the region’s complex history and cultural influences. Despite these linguistic differences, the people of Bastar often share common customs and beliefs that are deeply rooted in the region’s cultural traditions.
One example of a shared custom is the practice of the Dussehra festival, which is celebrated by many people in Bastar. Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, and it is marked by rituals, ceremonies, and cultural events that are specific to the region.
Another shared belief is the reverence for the natural environment and the spiritual significance of forests and natural landscapes. Many people in Bastar believe in the existence of spirits and deities that inhabit the forests and other natural areas, and they often perform rituals and offerings to honor and appease these spirits.
7. Why the Dutch adopted the ‘scorched earth policy’ during the war?
Answer – The “scorched earth policy” is a military strategy in which an invading army deliberately destroys resources and infrastructure in an enemy’s territory in order to weaken their ability to resist or recover. The Dutch are known to have adopted this strategy during certain wars in order to achieve their military objectives.
There are several reasons why the Dutch may have adopted the scorched earth policy in these situations. One reason is to deprive the enemy of resources that they could use to support their military efforts, such as food, shelter, and other supplies. By destroying these resources, the Dutch could weaken the enemy’s ability to resist and make it more difficult for them to recover from the war.
Another reason is to punish the enemy and discourage further resistance. By destroying crops, homes, and other infrastructure, the Dutch could inflict significant damage and suffering on the enemy population, in an effort to deter them from continuing to fight.
8. What did Dietrich Brandis suggest for the improvement of forests in India?
Answer – Dietrich Brandis was a German forestry expert who played a key role in the development of modern forestry practices in India. Brandis was appointed as the Inspector General of Forests in India in 1864, and he spent over 30 years working to improve the management and conservation of forests in the country.
One of the key suggestions that Brandis made for the improvement of forests in India was the creation of a system of reserved forests. Under this system, certain areas of forest would be set aside and protected from exploitation, in order to preserve their natural values and resources.
9. Give any three reasons why cultivation expanded rapidly in the colonial period.
Answer – There are several reasons why cultivation expanded rapidly in the colonial period:
- Demand for agricultural products: During the colonial period, there was a high demand for agricultural products in Europe and other parts of the world. This demand spurred the expansion of cultivation in many colonial territories, as European powers sought to increase their production and trade of these products.
- Investment in infrastructure: The colonial powers invested heavily in infrastructure, such as roads, ports, and railroads, which made it easier to transport agricultural products from the colonies to market. This facilitated the expansion of cultivation and increased the efficiency of the agricultural sector.
- Changes in land tenure: The colonial powers often introduced changes to land tenure systems in their territories, which made it easier for farmers to access land and invest in agriculture. This helped to increase the supply of agricultural products and stimulate the expansion of cultivation.
10. What were the different forest acts made by Britishers to control the forests?
Answer – During the colonial period, the British government in India introduced a number of forest acts in order to control the use and management of forests. Here are three examples:
- The Indian Forest Act of 1878: This act established the legal framework for the regulation and management of forests in India. It defined forests and reserved forests, and established the rights and responsibilities of the government and local communities in relation to forests.
- The Indian Forest (Amendment) Act of 1927: This act amended the Indian Forest Act of 1878, and introduced new provisions to improve the protection of forests and wildlife. It also established new categories of forests, such as protected forests and village forests, and introduced stricter penalties for illegal activities in forests.
- The Indian Forest (Amendment) Act of 1965: This act further amended the Indian Forest Act of 1878, and introduced new provisions to promote the conservation of forests and wildlife. It also established the principle of “Working Plans” for the management of forests, which set out detailed plans for the management and conservation of forests on a long-term basis.
Answer – Britain turned to India for timber supply for its Royal Navy for a number of reasons. One reason was that India had a large and diverse supply of timber, including various types of hardwood and softwood species that were suitable for use in shipbuilding and other naval applications.
Another reason was that India was a British colony, and the British government had control over the resources and infrastructure in the country. This made it easier for Britain to secure a reliable supply of timber from India, and to transport it back to Britain for use in the Royal Navy.
Finally, Britain may have turned to India for timber supply due to economic considerations. Timber from India was likely cheaper and more readily available than timber from other sources, making it an attractive option for the Royal Navy.
12. Discuss in brief the Saminist movement of Indonesia.
Answer – The Saminist movement, also known as the Priyayi rebellion, was a social and political movement that emerged in Indonesia in the early 20th century. The movement was led by a group of traditional Javanese aristocrats, known as priyayi, who were unhappy with the Dutch colonial government’s policies and practices in Indonesia.
The Saminist movement was characterized by its emphasis on traditional Javanese values and culture, and its rejection of modern, Western influences. The movement advocated for the restoration of traditional Javanese institutions, such as the palace and the priyayi council, and called for greater autonomy and independence from Dutch colonial rule.
13. Name the three categories of forests as mentioned in the Act of 1878.
Answer – The Indian Forest Act of 1878, which was passed by the British government in India, established three categories of forests:
- Forests: Forests were defined as “all lands, not being the property of private persons, which are covered by trees, and any land which, having been covered by trees, is at the date of this Act, or may hereafter be reserved as a forest, and any waste land which is not private property, but which is reserved as a future forest.” This category included both natural forests and artificially planted forests, and it covered a wide range of ecosystems and vegetation types.
- Reserved forests: Reserved forests were forests that were set aside by the government for the purpose of protecting their natural values and resources. These forests were to be managed according to the principles of scientific forestry, and their use was to be regulated by the government in order to ensure their long-term sustainability.
- Protected forests: Protected forests were forests that were designated as protected areas under the Indian Forest Act of 1878. These forests were to be managed for the protection of wildlife and other natural values, and their use was to be strictly regulated in order to ensure their conservation.
14. Mention the causes of deforestation in India under the colonial rule.
Answer – There were several causes of deforestation in India during the colonial period:
- Demand for forest products: The demand for forest products, such as timber, rubber, and other materials, increased significantly during the colonial period, leading to widespread deforestation. The colonial powers often encouraged the extraction of these resources in order to meet the demand and generate profits.
- Agricultural expansion: The expansion of agriculture was another major cause of deforestation in India during the colonial period. The British government encouraged the cultivation of cash crops, such as opium, indigo, and tea, which required large areas of land and led to the clearing of forests.
- Infrastructure development: The construction of roads, railroads, and other infrastructure projects during the colonial period also contributed to deforestation, as these projects often required the clearing of forests.
- Changes in land tenure: The colonial powers often introduced changes to land tenure systems in India, which made it easier for people to access land and led to the clearing of forests for agriculture and other purposes.
15. Where is Bastar located ? How did the people by Bastan react against the British forest policies?
Answer – Bastar is a region located in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. It is situated in central India and is known for its rich cultural and natural heritage.
The people of Bastar, like many other communities in India, resisted the British forest policies and practices that were imposed on them during the colonial period. Many people in Bastar relied on forests for their livelihoods, and the British policies often restricted their access to these resources and disrupted their traditional ways of life.
In response to these policies, the people of Bastar organized protests and boycotts, and engaged in acts of civil disobedience. They also sought the support of nationalist leaders and other groups in their efforts to challenge the British authorities and protect their rights and interests.
16. Write a note on Dietrich Brandis.
Answer – Dietrich Brandis was a German forestry expert who played a key role in the development of modern forestry practices in India. He was born in 1824 in Hanover, Germany, and studied forestry at the University of Göttingen.
In 1864, Brandis was appointed as the Inspector General of Forests in India, a position he held until 1894. During his time in India, Brandis worked to improve the management and conservation of forests in the country, and he played a significant role in shaping the legal and institutional framework for forestry in India.
17. Where and when was the Imperial Forest Research Institute set up?
Answer – The Imperial Forest Research Institute (IFRI) was set up in 1906 in Dehradun, India. The institute was established by the British government in India as part of its efforts to improve the management and conservation of forests in the country.
18. Why did commercial forestry become important during the British rule?
Answer – Commercial forestry became important during the British rule in India for a number of reasons. One reason was the growing demand for forest products, such as timber, rubber, and other materials, in Europe and other parts of the world. The British government in India encouraged the extraction and trade of these resources in order to meet the demand and generate profits.
Another reason was the expansion of infrastructure projects, such as roads, railroads, and ports, which required large amounts of timber and other forest products. The British government invested heavily in these projects in order to improve connectivity and facilitate trade and economic development in India.
19. What was the Blandongdiensten system?
Answer – The Blandongdiensten system was a system of forced labor that was used by the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. The system required people in certain areas of Indonesia to provide labor services to the government, either on a regular basis or on an as-needed basis. This labor was often used for public works projects, such as the construction of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure.
20. What was the effect of Forest Act on the people living nearby?
Answer – The Forest Act, and other forest laws and policies, had a range of effects on the people living near forests. These effects varied depending on the specific provisions of the act, the context in which it was implemented, and the ways in which it was enforced.
In general, the Forest Act and other forest laws were intended to regulate the use and management of forests in order to protect their natural values and resources. However, they often had negative impacts on the people living near forests, particularly those who relied on forests for their livelihoods. For example, the act may have restricted their access to forest resources, or imposed fines and other penalties for activities that were traditionally part of their way of life.