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Forest society and Colonialism NCERT Class 9 History: Chapter 4 Extra Questions

Forest society and Colonialism NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 4 – Extra Questions

Mention a few products that are got from forest.
Forests provide us with innumerable products. Forest trees provide wood or timber as it is called. We make furniture, like tables and chairs from wood. Wood is also used to make doors and windows. Paper is made from wood pulp. Forests are a store –house for many herbs which are used as medicine. We get gum and rubber from forest trees. Rubber is a very important industrial raw material. So it is our duty to protect forests.

What is Deforestation?

The cutting down and clearing of the forests is referred to as deforestation. Deforestation is an age old practice. It started many centuries ago.
During the period of industrialization, forests were cleared for industries to flourish. Deforestation took place to expand cultivation. Deforestation brought a lot of ecological changes in our planet. During the colonial rule it became more systematic and extensive.

What are ‘ railway sleepers’? How many sleepers are required for 1 mile of railway track?


Railway Sleepers are wooden planks laid across railway tracks; they hold the tracks in position . Between 1,760 and 2,000 sleepers are needed to lay 1 mile of railway track . A single sleeper is approximately 10 feet by 10 inches by 5 inches that is 3.5 cubic feet. Wood for these sleepers came mainly from the Sind Forests. As the railway was fast expanding, there was need for more and more trees to be cut. In the Madras Presidency alone, 35,000 trees were cut annually for making sleepers.

Mention a few commercial crops. Why are they called so?

Jute, sugar, wheat and cotton are called commercial crops. These crops are used in industries as raw material, so they are called commercial crops. Cotton is used in the manufacture of textiles. Sugar is used to make chocolates and various other confectionery products. Wheat, like sugar is used in the confectionery industry, with biscuits and bread being the major product.

Why did Britain turn to India for timber supply for its Royal Navy?

The disappearance of the oak forests in England, created problems in timber supply for the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy could not survive without a regular supply of timber. So, the British started their search in all the colonial countries for a regular supply of timber. Their search resulted in the cutting down forests in India. Within a decade, a large amount of timber was exported from India.

Write a note on Dietrich Brandis.

Dietrich Brandis was a German National and an expert in forest development. The British invited him to India , to seek his advise and he was made the first Inspector General of Forests in India, as the indiscriminate felling of trees worried the British .
Mr. Brandis thought that there should be some proper system to manage forests and the people have to be trained in scientific conservation. They restricted cutting of forest trees and grazing. Anybody who cut trees without permission was punished.
Mr. Brandis set up the Indian Forest Service in 1864. He also formulated the Indian Forest Act in 1865. The Imperial Forest Research Institute was set up at Dehradun in 1906. Mr. Brandis introduced the method of Scientific forestry. In this method, instead of different types of trees, only one type of tree is planted. Every year specific areas of the forest are cut and it is replanted. The trees are cut again after they grow.
The amendment to the Indian Forests Act , implemented by Mr. Brandis was enforced in 1878 . According to this amendment the forests were divided into three categories – reserved, protected and village forests.
Villagers were not happy with the Forest act that promoted only particular species like teak and sal which were needed for hard wood, as they were tall and straight. Villagers who use forest products like roots, leaves and fruits wanted forests with a mixture of species to satisfy different needs like fuel, fodder and food.

Where and when was the Imperial Forest Research Institute set up ?

The Imperial Forest Research Institute was set up at Dehradun in 1906.

Write a brief note about the geographical location of Bastar.

Bastar is located in the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh. It is surrounded by Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra. The central part of Bastar is situated on a plateau. Chhattisgarh plain and the Godavari Plains are to the north and south of the plateau, respectively. The river Indrawati passes through Bastar from east to west.

Give a brief account of the people of Bastar.

The people of Bastar belonged to different communities such as Maria and Muria Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras and Halbas. Though they spoke different languages they shared common customs and beliefs. The people of Bastar believed that the Earth was sacred and made offerings during agricultural festivals. In addition to the Earth, they respected the spirits of the river, the forest and the mountain.
The boundaries of each village was well marked and the people looked after all the natural resources within that boundary. If people from one village wanted to take some wood from the forests of another village, they paid a small fee called devsari, dand or man in exchange. Some villages protected their forests by engaging watchmen and each household had to contribute some grain to pay them.
Every year a big meeting is organised, where the headmen of villages meet and discuss issues of concern, including forests.

What was Samin’s Challenge?

Surontiko Samin belonged to the Randublatung village in Java. The Randublatung village was a teak forest village. Samin challenged the Dutch saying that the state had not created the wind, water, earth and wood, so it could not own it.
Samin’s Challenge developed into a widespread movement. Samin was supported by his family members. Soon 3000 families followed his ideology and protested against the forest laws of the Dutch, by lying down on their land when the Dutch came to survey it. Many other villagers refused to pay taxes or fines . Some of them even refused to work for the Dutch in cutting trees.

What are the New Developments in Forestry ?

Environmentalists have realised the need for ecological balance . Conservation of forests is now seen as an important requirement than growing trees for timber. In order to conserve forests the people living near the forests have to be involved. In India dense forests have survived only because villages protected them in sacred groves known as sarnas, devarakudu, kan and rai. Villages patrol their own forests, with each household taking turns to do it. They do not leave it to the forest guards.
Local forest communities and environmentalists today are thinking of different forms of forest management and conservation.


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