NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4 Forest Society and Colonialism

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 4 Forest Society and Colonialism are prepared by expert teachers. These solutions contain answers to all questions provided in History (India and the Contemporary World – I) textbook.

Class 9 History Forest Society and Colonialism Exercise Questions and Answers

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

  • Shifting cultivators
  • Nomadic and pastoralist communities
  • Firms trading in timber/forest produce
  • Plantation owners
  • Kings/British officials engaged in shikar

Shifting cultivators: European colonists regarded shifting cultivation harmful to the existence of forests. Also, it stood in their way of commercial timber forestry. There was always the chance of fires spreading out of control and burning down all the precious timber. Thus keeping these factors in mind the colonial government banned shifting cultivation. Many of these cultivators lost their livelihood in the process and most were also displaced from their homes in the forest.

Nomadic and Pastoralist Communities: Nomadic and pastoralist communities like the Korava, Karacha and Yerukula from the Madras Presidency lost their livelihoods. They were designated as ‘criminal tribes’ by the British authorities and were forced to work in factories, mines and plantations under government supervision.

Firms trading in timber/forest produces: The British gave European timber trading firms the sole right to trade in forest products in particular areas. Grazing and hunting by the local population were restricted by law.

Plantation owners: Vast tracts of natural forests were cleared to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantations in order to fulfil the demand for these commodities in Europe. Plantation owners, who were overwhelmingly European, were given land at a cheap rate. They were enclosed and cleared of forests, and plated with tea or coffee.

Kings/ British officials engaged in hunting: The forest laws deprived forest dwellers their means of livelihood. Before the enactment of these laws, the forest dwellers practised hunting as a means to sustain themselves. After their enactment, they were forbidden from hunting. Hunting instead became a sport where kings and British officials equally hunted big game in huge numbers, bringing some of them to the very brink of extinction.

Question 2: What are the similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and Java?

Answer: The similarities between the colonial management of forests in Bastar and Java include:

  1. Both areas saw the introduction of scientific forestry by colonial powers to enhance timber extraction.
  2. Local practices like shifting cultivation and forest gathering were restricted, affecting indigenous livelihoods.
  3. Large forest areas were declared reserved, limiting local access and use.
  4. Local communities were coerced into labor for forest management and timber extraction.
  5. These policies led to resistance and rebellions by affected local communities against colonial authorities.

Question 3: Between 1880 and 1920, forest 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:

  • Railways
  • Shipbuilding
  • Agricultural expansion
  • Commercial farming
  • Tea/Coffee plantations
  • Adivasis and other peasant user

Railways: There was a huge demand for sleepers from the railways. In those days sleepers were made from wood. Expansion of the railway network resulted in large scale deforestation.

Shipbuilding: Shipbuilding was an important industry because ships were an integral part of the military power of the British. When the number of oak trees sharply reduced in Britain, Indian forests provided a good source of supply. Thus, shipbuilding also contributed towards large scale deforestation in India.

Agricultural expansion: The growing European population meant an increased demand for food grains. This resulted in the expansion of cultivated land in India. More land was cleared of forests to make way for cultivation.

Commercial farming: There was increased demand for various raw materials; like cotton, indigo for the expanding industries in Britain. This resulted in large scale commercial farming in India. This could also become possible by clearing forests.

Tea/coffee plantations: Demand for tea and coffee also increased in Britain. The climate of northeastern India and the eastern coast was perfect for plantations. Large areas of forests were cleared for making way for plantations. The British plantation owners were given land on very cheap rates.

Adivasis and other peasant users: Adivasis had always been the protectors of forests and hence they had no role in deforestation. However, some peasants may have utilised the opportunity to expand the cultivated land; as had happened in Java. Moreover, the significant increase in cultivated land also indicates towards the clearing of forests for farming.

Question 4: Why are forests affected by wars?

Answer: Forests are impacted by wars due to:

  1. Increased Resource Demand: Wars escalate the need for timber and other forest resources for military purposes, leading to overexploitation.
  2. Strategic Clearing: Forests are cleared for strategic military advantages, causing habitat destruction.
  3. Scorched Earth Tactics: Deliberate destruction of forests to deny resources to the enemy results in ecological damage.
  4. Chemical Warfare: Use of chemicals can devastate forest ecosystems.
  5. Conservation Neglect: War often leads to the neglect of forest conservation efforts, exacerbating degradation.
  6. Post-War Development: After conflicts, pressure to use forest lands for rebuilding can lead to further deforestation.

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