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Essay on “Indian Forests” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Indian Forests 

In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self-regulated condition over a long period of time. Climate, soil, and the topography of the region determine the characteristic trees of a forest. Insects and diseases are a continuing menace to forests. Various insects devastate extensive areas by defoliation, while others serve as carriers for the causative agents of plant diseases that destroy trees.

There is enough evidence to show that dense forests once covered India. The changing forest composition and cover can be closely linked to the growth and change of civilizations. Over the years, as man progressed the forest began gradually depleting. The growing population and man’s dependence on the forest have been mainly responsible for this. All ancient texts have some mention of the forest and the activities that were performed in these areas. Forests were revered by the people and a large number of religious ceremonies centered on trees and plants. The Agni Purana, written about 4000 years ago, stated that man should protect trees to have material gains and religious blessings. Around 2500 years ago, Gautama Buddha preached that man should plant a tree every five years. Sacred groves were marked around the temples where certain rules and regulations applied. When Chandra Gupta Maurya came to power around 300 BC, he realized the importance of the forests and appointed a high officer to look after the forests. Ashoka stated that wild animals and forests should be preserved and protected. He launched programmes to plant trees on a large scale. These rules continued even during the Gupta period. During the Muslim invasions a large number of people had to flee from the attacks and take refuge in the forests. This was the beginning of a phase of migration to the forest. They cleared vast areas of forests to make way for settlements. The Muslim invader’s were all keen hunters and therefore had to have patches of forests where they couldso hunting. This ensured that the trees in these areas were not felled, and the forest ecology was not tampered with. The Mughals showed more interest in gardens and their development. Akbar ordered the planting of trees in various parts of his kingdom. Jahangir was well known for laying out beautiful gardens and planting trees. During the early part of the British rule, trees were felled without any thought. Large numbers of trees such as the Sal, teak, and sandalwood were cut for export. The history of modern Indian forestry was a process by which the British gradually appropriated forest resources for revenue generation. Trees could not be felled Without prior permission and knowledge of the authority. This step Was taken to ensure that they were the sole users of the forest  trees. But after some time, the British began to regulate and conserve. In 1800, a commissioner was appointed to look into the availability of teak in the Malabar forests. In 1806, the Madras government appointed Capt. Watson as the commissioner of forests for organizing the production of teak and other timber suitable for the building of ships.

In 1855, Lord Dalhousie framed regulations for conservation of forest in the entire country. Teak plantations were raised in the Malabar hills and acacia and eucalyptus in the Niligiri Hills. In Bombay, the conservator of forest, Gibson, tried to introduce rules prohibiting shifting cultivation and plantation of teak forests. From 1865 to 1894, forest reserves were established to secure material for imperial needs. With the independence of India in 1947, a great upheaval in forestry organization occurred. The princely states were managed variably, giving more concessions to the local population. The transfer of these states to the government led to deforestation in these areas. But some forest officials claim that the maharajas cut down a lot of their forests and sold them.

The new Forest Policy of 1952 recognized the protective functions of the forest and aimed at maintaining one-third of India’s land area under forest. Certain activities were banned and grazing restricted. Much of the original British policy was kept in place, such as the classification of forestland into two types. Until 1976, the forest resource was seen as a source of earning money for the state and therefore little was spent in protecting it or looking after it. In 1976, the governance of the forest came under the concurrent list. ‘Development without destruction’ and ‘forests for survival were the themes of the next two five-year plans, aiming at increasing. wildlife reserves and at linking forest development with the tribal economy. But a large gap between aim and achievement exists still.


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