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

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

Class 9 is the first stepping stone for a student in the competitive world. With the introduction of the CBSE Board Exam for class 10 a few years back, this has become an important gateway for a student. Based on the results of class 9th a student selects his future stream of Science, Commerce or Arts suiting his interest.

Takshila Learning is providing NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History as per the latest syllabus by CBSE. Class 9 is the building block for the CBSE Class 10 Board Exams, not only for your exams but also for your higher studies and career. History is the most essential subject and the knowledge in this field opens up wider career opportunities for the students.

Below you can find the NCERT solution for Class 9th History. You can get a Solution for the all-important question of 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:

  1. Shifting cultivators
  2. Nomadic and pastoralist communities
  3. Firms trading in timber/forest produce
  4. Plantation owners
  5. Kings/British officials engaged in shikar (hunting)


(I) Shifting cultivators: European colonists considered farming to be harmful to the survival of forests. In addition, it stood in its own way of commercial timber forestry. There was always the possibility of spreading out of control and burning all the precious wood. Thus keeping these factors in mind, the colonial government banned shifting cultivation. Many of these tenants lost their livelihoods in the process and most were displaced from their homes in the forest.  (II) Nomadic and Pastoralist Communities: The nomadic and rustic communities such as Korwa, Karacha and Yerukula lost their livelihood from the Madras Presidency. They were designated by the British authorities as ‘criminal tribes’ and forced to work in factories, mines and plantations under government supervision. (III) Firms trading in timber/forest produces: The British gave European timber trading firms the exclusive right to trade forest products in particular areas. Grazing and hunting by the local population were prohibited by law. (IV) Plantation owners: In order to meet the demand for these commodities in Europe, vast tracts of natural forests were cleared for tea, coffee and rubber plantations. The plantation owners, who were heavily European, were given land at a cheap rate. They were surrounded and cleared of forests, and plated with tea or coffee. (V) Kings/ British officials engaged in hunting: Deprived of forest laws, forest dwellers were deprived of their means of livelihood. Before the enactment of these laws, forest dwellers practiced hunting as a means to sustain themselves. After they were enacted, they were prohibited from hunting. Instead hunting became a sport where the king and British officials alike hunted large numbers of big game, leaving some of them on the verge of extinction.


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

Answer: In India, the forest management of Bastar was under British control, while in Java, it was under Dutch management.(I) Like the British, the Dutch needed wood to make sleepers for railway tracks.(II) The British and Dutch colonial authorities implemented their own version of forest laws which gave them total control over forests and deprived them of customary rights of forest dwellers.(III) Both the Dutch and the British banned farming on the grounds that they were dangerous for the survival of forests(IV) The villagers of Bastar were allowed to live in the forests on the condition that they provide free labor to the forest department. While in Java, the Dutch exempted those villages from paying taxes when they provided free labor to 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:

  1. Railways
  2. Shipbuilding
  3. Agricultural expansion
  4. Commercial farming
  5. Tea/Coffee plantations
  6. Adivasis and other peasants users


  1. a) Railways:

The railway was an important asset that was necessary for maintaining trade through the transport of goods and the domination of the colonies through the transport of troops. Wood was required to lay sleepers for railway tracks. Sleepers are those that prevent tracks from breaking. Between 1760 and 2000 sleepers required one kilometer of railway track. Thus vast tracts of forest were cut to provide material for railways.

 (b) Ship Building

Ships were made of wood in the early 19th century, before the arrival of the Industrial Revolution. Britain, along with its naval fleet, maintained its colonial wealth through the Royal Navy. But vast tracts of oak forests were cut in England to maintain them.This created a logical problem for the Royal Navy because a regular supply of wood was needed to build new ships and maintain the old ones. It was easily built by cutting the forests of its colonies. This resulted in the disappearance of vast acres of forest with some areas seeing deforestation almost entirely

 (c) Agricultural Expansion

As the population grew, so did the demand for food. Forestland was approved to make way for new agricultural paths. Colonial officials believed that if they cleaned the forests they could produce more food. In addition, forests were considered unproductive, with which to begin, so they had little merit in cutting large numbers. Between 1880 and 1920 agricultural land grew by 6.7 million hectares. It can be safely said that agricultural expansion contributed the most towards deforestation.

 (d) Commercial Farming of Trees

Forests are diverse not only in fauna, but also in flora. So when they were cleared to make way for commercial farming, many species of trees were lost in the process, because commercial farming only uses a specific type of trees in commercial farming, depending on the type of plantation Used to depend.

 (e) Tea/Coffee Plantation

Colonial authorities sold vast amounts of forest land to most European plantation firms to meet the growing demand for tea and coffee. These firms then cut down forests to make way for tea and coffee plantations. As a result, several acres of forest were lost. (f) Adivasis and Other Peasant Users: The tribals and other peasant communities practiced shifting cultivation. In this, parts of the forest area were cut down and the tree roots were burnt. The seeds were then sown in burnt patches and arrived during the monsoon season. When fertility declined in that particular area, the same practice was repeated at a different location. Therefore with the loss of some areas of the forest, the trees were less likely to grow back due to a decrease in soil fertility

Q.4 Why are forests affected by wars?

Answer: Forests are affected by wars because they are valuable strategic resources. Battlefield assets such as towers, guard posts, army camps are made of wood as they can be easily maintained and easily pulled down causing the need to move these assets. As more and more scorched earth policy should be implemented, it should become clear that forests will fall into the hands of the enemy. This is done in relation to area and resource denial. The same happened to the Dutch when the Japanese invaded their colony in Indonesia during World War II. The Dutch burned huge forests to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands.Even when they did, the Japanese exploited the untamed wood forests to meet their war demands. This practice will negatively affect local ecology in the coming decades.

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