Ex

  History (NTSE/Olympiad)  

1. Forest Society and Colonialism

Economic And Social Conditions Leading To Deforestation

While the causes of deforestation can be many and varied like the spread of agriculture, unregulated timber harvesting and indiscriminate firewood collection, the Indian reality is quite different because of its colonial past. Due to its exploitative nature the process of cutting of trees become aggressive under British rule. The main reason for expansion of cultivation and increasing deforestation was :
The growing demand for raw material by the English industries especially in the 19th century. This raw material was supplied by Indian farmers who not only started placing more and more land under commercial crops like sugar, cotton, indigo and jute but also started reclaiming more forest land.
Another reason was the prevailing misconception about forests as being wasteland which was of no use. Therefore it should be cleared and used for growing crops thus its utility would be enhanced. Increasing building activity by the British both at home and in India also increased the demand for Indian timber causing greater logging.
Usually, uncontrolled deforestation is a symptom of a society’s inability to get a grip on other fundamental development problems : agricultural stagnation, grossly unequal land tenure, rising unemployment, rapid population growth, and the incapacity to regulate private enterprise to protect the public interest.
The colonial requirements of ship building and expanding railway network not only at home but in the colonies too led to further denuding of forests in India. In order to meet the demands of ever expanding Royal Navy of England and railway tracks to carry raw material to harbour more and more trees were being felled. While the causes of deforestation can be many and varied like the spread of agriculture, unregulated timber harvesting and indiscriminate firewood collection, the Indian reality is quite different because of its colonial past. Due to its exploitative nature the process of cutting of trees become aggressive under British rule. The main reason for expansion of cultivation and increasing deforestation was :
The growing demand for raw material by the English industries especially in the 19th century. This raw material was supplied by Indian farmers who not only started placing more and more land under commercial crops like sugar, cotton, indigo and jute but also started reclaiming more forest land.
Another reason was the prevailing misconception about forests as being wasteland which was of no use. Therefore it should be cleared and used for growing crops thus its utility would be enhanced. Increasing building activity by the British both at home and in India also increased the demand for Indian timber causing greater logging.
Usually, uncontrolled deforestation is a symptom of a society’s inability to get a grip on other fundamental development problems : agricultural stagnation, grossly unequal land tenure, rising unemployment, rapid population growth, and the incapacity to regulate private enterprise to protect the public interest.
The colonial requirements of ship building and expanding railway network not only at home but in the colonies too led to further denuding of forests in India. In order to meet the demands of ever expanding Royal Navy of England and railway tracks to carry raw material to harbour more and more trees were being felled.

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