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

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


Q.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 (hunting)



(I) Shifting cultivators: European colonists believed that woodlands were endangered by shifting agriculture. It also prevented them from engaging in commercial wood forestry. There was always a danger that wildfires would get out of hand and destroy all the valuable wood. The colonial authority forbade shifting agriculture as a result, taking these concerns into consideration. Most of these cultivators were also forced to leave their homes in the forest, and many of them lost their means of subsistence in the process.


(II) Nomadic and Pastoralist Communities: Communities like the Korava, Karacha, and Yerukula from the Madras Presidency who were nomadic and pastoralists lost their means of subsistence. They were made to work in factories, mines, and plantations under government control after being labelled as “criminal tribes” by the British administration.


(III) Firms trading in timber/forest produces: The British granted European timber trading companies exclusive rights to deal in forest products in specific regions. Laws prohibited local residents from hunting and grazing.


(IV) Plantation owners: To meet the demand for tea, coffee, and rubber in Europe, large areas of natural forests were removed to make place for plantations. Land was provided at a low cost to plantation owners, who were predominately of European descent. They were enclosed, free of any vegetation, and served with tea or coffee.


(V) Kings/ British officials engaged in shikhar hunting:  The forest rules stripped forest people of their source of income. The forest dwellers engaged in hunting as a method of subsistence prior to the adoption of these regulations. They were prohibited from hunting after they were put into effect. Instead, hunting developed into a sport where both kings and British officials hunted large animals in great numbers, pushing some species almost to extinction.



Q.2 What are the similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and in Java?

Answer:- The Dutch managed the forests in Java, while the British were in charge of the forests in Bastar, India.

(I) The Dutch needed wood to build railroad sleepers, just like the British did.

(II) The colonial authorities of the British and Dutch countries passed their own versions of the forest laws, giving them complete control over the forests and robbing the forest residents of their traditional privileges.

(III) Shifting cultivation was outlawed by the Dutch and the British because they believed it threatened the survival of forests.

(IV) Bastar’s people were given permission to live in the forests as long as they gave the forest service unpaid labour. The Dutch spared such communities from paying taxes while they were in Java in exchange for their free labour for the forest department.



Q.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:




Agricultural expansion

Commercial farming

Tea/Coffee plantations

Adivasis and other peasants users


  1. a) Railways:  Railways were a valuable resource that were crucial to preserving trade through the transportation of products and to the dominance of the colonies through the transportation of troops. The sleepers for the railroad rails required to be laid using wood. The sleepers kept the tracks from disintegrating. Between 1760 and 2000 sleepers were needed for every kilometre of railroad track. As a result, huge areas of forest were cleared to make place for railroads.


(a) Ship Building: Prior to the industrial revolution, early 19th-century ships were composed of wood. With its enormous number of naval fleets, the Royal Navy helped Britain maintain her colonial conquests. But huge areas of England’s oak woodlands were cleared in order to maintain them.

The Royal Navy faced a logistical challenge as a result since maintaining and building new ships required a steady supply of timber. By clearing its colonies’ woodlands, it was quickly fixed. As a result, vast tracts of woods vanished, with some locations seeing practically total deforestation.


(b) Agricultural Expansion: The demand for food increased along with the population. In order to make room for additional agricultural tracts, forests were removed. The colonial officials thought clearing the trees would increase food production. Additionally, forests were already regarded as being unproductive, thus there was little hesitation in massively clearing them. Between 1880 and 1920, agricultural land increased by 6.7 million hectares. It is safe to say that agricultural expansions were the primary cause of deforestation.


(d) Commercial Farming: I Forests have a variety of flora in addition to fauna. Because commercial farming only uses one particular type of tree, depending on the type of plantation, many species of trees were destroyed in the process when they were cleared to create room for it.


(e) Tea/Coffee Plantation: Colonial officials sold vast tracts of forested land to primarily European plantation companies in order to supply the rising demand for tea and coffee. After then, these companies cleared the forest to make room for tea and coffee plantations. Many acres of woodland were lost as a result.


(f) Adivasis and Other Peasant Users:  Adivasis and other peasant populations engaged in shifting agriculture, which required chopping down portions of the forest and setting tree roots on fire. The scorched patch was subsequently planted with seeds, which were then gathered during the monsoon season. The similar procedure was carried out in another area when fertility in that region started to fall. Due to the lack of soil fertility, there were reduced odds of trees sprouting again along with some of the forest areas.


Q.4 Why are forests affected by wars?


Answer:-  Forest are affected by wars because they are important strategic resources. Towers, guard posts, and army camps are all made of wood since it is simple to maintain them and pull them down if a need arises to move these assets. Should it become clear that woods will fall into enemy hands, the scorched earth policy will be implemented even more firmly.


Regarding resource and area denial, this is done. When the Japanese invaded the Dutch colony in Indonesia during World War II, this was the case. Huge tracts of forest were destroyed by the Dutch to keep the Japanese from capturing them.


But once they did, the Japanese immediately began carelessly plundering the timber trees to meet their own wartime needs. The local ecology would suffer greatly from this behaviour for many years to come.