1. How did the Forest Act affect the lives of foresters and villagers?
How did.Forest Act mean severe hardship for villagers across the country? Explain.
How for do you agree that forest Act affected the lives of villagers?
Ans. The 1878 Forest Act divided forests in India into three categories: reserved, protected and village forests. Foresters and villagers had very different ideas about a ‘good forest’.
The following points show the effect ofForest Act on the lives of foresters and villagers
(i) Villagers wanted forests with a mixture of species to satisfy different needs-fuel, fodder and leaves. Villagers could not take anything from ‘reserved’ forests. For house building or fuel, they could take wood from protected or village forests. On the other hand forest department needed trees that could provide hard, tall and straight woods for commercial use. So, they encouraged to plant only Teak and Sal and other trees were cut.
(ii) In forest areas people use forest products roots, leaves, fruits, tuber, etc. Almost everything is available in the forest for their livelihood.
The Forest Act meant severe hardship for them.
All their everyday practices cutting wood for their houses, grazing their cattle, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal.
(iii) Villagers were forced to steal wood and if they were caught, they were at the mercy of the forest-guards, who even claimed bribe from them.
(iv) Women who collected fuelwood were scared of the forest guards. It became common practice for police constables and forest guards to harass villagers by demanding free food for themselves. Thus, it can be concluded that the forest act brought severe hardship for villagers across the country.
2. How did the British exploit the forests resource of India for their economic development?
Ans. Under the British colonial rule the process of deforestation for economic development in India became systematic and extensive.
In the following ways, the British exploit the forests resources of India for their economic development
(i) By the early 19th century, oak forests in England werd disappearing, British needed timber supply for their Royal navy and they sent search parties to explore forest resources of India in 1820. Within a decade vast quantities of timber were being exported from India.
(ii) Not only Royal navy for the movement of imperial troops, the Britishers needed the expansion of railways for their colonial trade. To run locomotives they needed wood and also for railway tracks they needed timber supply.
(iii) Large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s growing need for these commodities.
For this purpose, the Colonial Government took over the forests and gave vast areas to European planters at cheap rates.
- In the colonial period, cultivation expanded rapidly. The British directly encouraged the production of commercial crops like jute, sugar wheat and cotton. These crops were demanded for the consumption of urban population and also for the raw materials needed in industrial production.
- The colonial power thought that forests were unproductive, so they tried to expand agriculture by clearing forests which would enhance the revenue of the state. Between 1880 and 1920, cultivated area in India rose by 6.7 million hectares.
- How did commercial farming led to a decline in forests cover during colonial period?
Ans. Before colonial period, India had nearly one-third of the total land area under forest cover which rapidly declined.
The following points state how commercial farming led to decline in forest cover during colonial period.
(i) In the early 19th century, the colonial powers held the opinion that forests were unproductive and were in no – way useful in increasing the income of the state.
(ii) Dietrich Brandis set up the Indian Forest Service in 1864 and realised that a proper system had to be introduced to manage forests.
(iii) The Britisher encouraged the production of commercial crops like jute, sugar, wheat, and cotton. They also encouraged plantation of tea, coffee and rubber.
(iv) So, the Indian farmers cleared forests for the commercial crops. It affected the ecological balance against multi species forest.
(v) The Britishers gave vast areas to European planters. They cleared forests and planted tea, coffee, etc, in the enclosed areas.
(vi) The Britishers exported timber like oak, sheesham and teak wood for Royal Navy to make strong ships.
Expansion of the railway was another reason for clearing forest, as a large number of ‘sleepers’ were required for railway tracks.
(vii) As the population increased and the demand of food went up, the forest were cleared for the expansion of agricultural land.
4. Explain how did the lives of forest-dwellers change after the forest department took over control of the forests? Mention any five points.
Ans. The forest department took control of the forests by introducing the Forest Act of 1865 and 1878.
In the following ways, life of forest -dwellers changed after the Act
(i) After this, some people benefitted from the new opportunities, they left their traditional occupations and started trading in forest products.
(ii) From the medieval period onwards adivasi communities were trading elephants and other goods like hides, horns, silk cocoons, ivory, bamboo, spices, fibres, grasses, gums, resins, etc.
(iii) The British Government took total control of the trade in forest products. They gave many large European trading firms the sole right to trade in the forest products of particular areas.
(iv) Grazing and hunting by local people were restricted. Many pastoralist and nomadic communities like the Korava, Karacha, Yerukula of Madras Presidency and Banjaras lost their livelihoods.
(v) Some tribals were branded as ‘criminal tribes’ and they lost their old occupations and were forced to work in factories, mines and plantation under government supervision and were offered a very low wage.
In this way, the lives of forest-dwellers were completely changed after the forest department took over control of the forests. .
5. What impact did the First and Second World Wars have on the forests across the world?
How were the forests in India and Java affected by the First and Second World Wars?
Ans. The First World War and the Second World War had a major impact on the forests across the world. This impact is stated in the points below (i) In India, the Forest Department cut trees freely to meet British war demands.
(ii) In Java, the Dutch followed ‘a scorched earth’ policy, jlxst before the Japanese occupied the region. They destroyed sawmills and burnt off huge piles of giant teak logs so that they would not fall into Japanese hands.
(iii) The Japanese exploited the forests recklessly for their own war industries and forced forest dwellers to cut down forests.
(iv) Many villagers took this opportunity for the expansion of cultivation land by cutting down the forests.
(v) After the war, it was difficult for the Indonesian forest service to get back this land.
(vi) In India people needed more agricultural land for cultivation for its increasing population. Forest department desired to control the land and excluded people from it. These different interests, led to a conflict between them.
6. Describe the Saminist Movement in Indonesia.
Ans. The Saminist Movement started in the last decade of the 19th century in Java. Surontiko Samin of Randublatung village, a teak forest village headed the movement.
The Dutch government forced the farmers to pay taxes on land and restricted villagers, access to forest by enacting the Forest Law in Java.
Samin questioned state ownership of the forest. He argued that the state had not created the wind, water, earth and wood, so it could not own it.
Soon a widespread movement started. Samin’s sons-in-law took the leadership. By 1907, 3000 families started following the ideas of Samin.
Some of the rebels protested by lying down on their land, when the Dutch came to survey the land.
Some even refused to pay taxes or fines or perform free labour.
7. Why did the people of Bastar rise in revolt against the British? Explain.
How did the people of Bastar react against the British forest policies? What were its consequences?
Ans. Bastar is located in the Southernmost part of Chhattisgarh, on the borders of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra. A number of different communities like Maria and Muria Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras and Halbas live in Bastar who speak different languages but share common customs and beliefs. They believe that each village was given its land by the Earth and in return they look after the land and give some offerings at each agricultural festival.
Rise of Revolt in Bastar
When the colonial power proposed to reserve two-thirds of the forest in 1905 and stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest product, the people of Bastar became worried.
Some people were allowed to stay in ‘forest villages’ on the condition that they worked for the forest department and protected the forest from fires. Other people were displaced without any notice or compensation.
For long the villagers had been suffering from increased land rents and frequent demands for free labour and goods by colonial officials.
Moreover there were two terrible famines, one in 1899-1900 and other in 1907-1908.
People began to gather and discuss these issues in their village councils, but the initiative was taken by the , Dhurwas of Kanger forest, where reservation first took place.
In 1910, mango boughs, a lump of earth, chillies and arrows, began circulating between villages.
The rebels looted the Bazaars, the houses of officials and traders. Schools and police stations were burnt and robbed and grains were redistributed.
Consequence of the Revolt
The British troops suppressed the rebellion. Adivasis fled in to jungles, their leaders Gunda Dhur could not be captured.
In a major victory for the rebels, work on reservation was temporarily suspended and the area to be reserved was reduced to roughly half of that planned before 1910.
8. What is Swidden agriculture? Where is it practised? Describe its main features.
Ans. Swidden agriculture or shifting cultivation is a traditional agricultural practice where cultivators used to cut certain parts of the forest in rotation. Than they burn the trees and sow seeds in ashes after the monsoon rains.
It is practised in many parts of Asia, Africa and South America. It has many local names like ladding in South-East Asia, Milpa in Central America, Chitemene or tavy in Africa, Chena in Sri Lanka. In India dhya, penda, bewar, nevad, jhum, podu, khandad and kumri are some of the local terms for swidden agriculture.
Main features of shifting agriculture are
(i) The crop is harvested in October-November.
(ii) These crops are cultivated for couple of years and then they are left fallow for 12 to 18 years to allow the forest to grow back.
(iii) They use the forest in rotation for cropping and burn it after harvesting.
(iv) A mixture of crops is grown on the plots so they have diversified source of income and also replenish and add nutrients to the soil.
Shifting cultivation was banned by the Colonial Government. They thought it as harmful for the forests and also made it difficult for the government to collect taxes.
9. Why and how were plantations started in Colonial India?
Ans. Before the arrival of Britishers, Indian landmarkss was covered with vast areas of dense forest. But the Britishers had main objective of exploiting natural resource from India to enrich themselves.
Reason for starting plantation industry
(i) Considered forest as unproductive.
(ii) Growing need of commodities in European countries.
(iii) To enhance revenue of British government
(iv) To control the misuse of forest by local people as in shifting cultivation.
To start plantation industry government gave vast areas of forest to contractors and European planters at cheap rates.
These European planters started recklessly felling of trees to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantations.
The British Government appointed German expert Dietrich Brandis as first inspector General of Forest. He recommended formation of rules and regulation of Forest Management and helped formulate Indian forest Act, 1865. Scientific forestry was introduced when forest was cleared for plantation.
- Why were the Kalangas of Java considered an important community? What compelled them to rebel against the Dutch and to what result?
Ans. Kalangas community of Java were very important due to their expertise in forest cutting and shifting cultivation. Their importance could be realised by the fact that they were divided into two parts when Mataram Kingdom of Java was split into two parts.
Without their expertise, harvesting teak and building palaces were impossible.
The Kalangas rebelled against Dutch for the following reasons
(i) Dutch introduced forest laws to restrict villager’s access to forest.
(ii) Forest laws specified that wood could be only used for making river boats and houses.
(iii) Villagers were punished for grazing cattle or transporting wood without a permit.
(iv) Imposition of rents on land being cultivated which was later exempted on ‘ condition of free supply of labour and buffaloes.
The Kalangas in 1770 revolted against the Dutch. But their revolt was not successful as they were brutally suppressed by the Dutch forces.
- “It necessary to increase the areas under forests” why? Give five important reasons.
Ans. A large part of our forests was cleared for industrial uses, cultivation, pastures and fuel wood. Thus, a necessity of increasing the area under forests becomes important in India.
The five important reasons to increase the areas under forests are
(i) To maintain the ecological balance It is necessary for maintaining ecological balance and absorption of carbon dioxide.
(ii) To regulate the flow of rivers Forests regulate the flow of rivers both in the rainy and dry seasons by absorbing or releasing water systematically. In this way, they reduce the chances of both floods and droughts.
(iii) To provide natural habitat to wildlife Forests provide natural habitat to wildlife and in this way they help in their preservation.
(iv) To help in precipitation or rainfall Forests help precipitations or rainfall and thus minimise the possibility of droughts.
(v) To conserve the soil Forests play an important role in the conservation of soils as the roots of the trees do not allow the soil to flow away with the water.
12. “The introduction of railway had an adverse impact on the forests”. Justify by giving examples.
Ans. From the 1860s, the railway network expanded rapidly. Sleepers were the basic inputs required for constructing a railway line. Each mile of a railway track required between 1760, to 2000 sleepers. To meet this demand, large number of trees were felled.
To run locomotive, wood was needed as fuel. As railway was being spread throughout India, more and more wood was required which could be used as fuel. –
The government gave out contracts of individuals to supply the required quantities. These contractors began cutting trees indiscriminately.
As a result, forests around the railway tracks started disappearing fast. As early as the 1850s, in the Madras presidency alone,
35,000 trees where being cut annually for sleepers.
Thus, it can be concluded that the introduction of railway had an adverse impact on the forests.