Volume No. 11 Issue No.: 1 Page No.: 216-223 July-September 2016

 

COLONIAL STATE AND MANAGEMENT OF THE FOR - ESTS OF BOMBAY PRESIDENCY : NINETEENTH CENTURY

 

Rodrigues L.

Department of History, Ramnarain Ruia College, Affiliated to Mumbai University, Mumbai (INDIA)

 

Received on : April 03, 2016

 

ABSTRACT

 

With the advent of the British in India, timber became the most important commodity of the State for the infrastructural development in the Bombay Presidency. Timber was drawn primarily from four states namely, Malabar (Kerala), Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra to construct ships in the Bombay dockyard, civic construction and railways. The overuse of timber had a catastrophic effect on the forests of the Bombay Presidency. The deteriorating conditions of the forests impressed upon the British Government the need to conserve the forests. The colonial state devised various plans and strategies to conserve and manage the forests. Initially their forest conservation programmes were unscientific and ended in failure. Trees of commercial interest were given importance like Teak. It is interesting to note that in the latter part of the nineteenth century German foresters who were trained in scientific forestry were invited to manage the forests. German foresters like Dietrich Brandis succeeded in conserving the forests and making it sustainable. It is argued that the underlying policy of the state was commercialization of the forests focusing on conserving teak trees rather than having real concern for the environment. The aim of the paper is to explore and evaluate various strategies and plans adopted by the colonial state in the management and conservation of the forests of Bombay Presidency in the Nineteenth century. It is based on primary sources culled from the Maharashtra State Archives and is supplemented with secondary sources.

 

Keywords : Forests, Bombay presidency, Timber, Conservation, Plantation

 

 

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