Class 9 NCERT Solutions History Sst Forest Society And Colonialism

NCERT Solutions Class 9 History Chapter 4 PDF

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NCERT Solutions for Class 9 social science (India and the Contemporary World – I) Chapter 4 – forest society and colonialism is given here to help students understand the concepts clearly. Our experts prepare the solutions, and detailed explanations are also provided along with the questions. By using these solutions, students can prepare well for the exams and have an effective revision of the whole chapter. The class 9 chapter 4 solutions are based on NCERT (CBSE) guidelines. The chapter includes topics like;

  • The changes in forest management during the colonial period and its impact on people.
  • The factors that led to the decline of forest cover in India.
  • The similarities between colonial management of forests in Bastar and in Java.
  • The effects of war.
  • Shifting cultivators and more.

About the chapter Forest Society and Colonialism

Relationship between Forests Livelihood 

Forest provides shelter to animals and birds. Rainfall trapped in forest lands. Forests products like roots, fruits, tubers are used for medicinal purposes. Foresters and villagers had different ideas of what a good forest should look like—cutting trees indiscriminately in a forest area. The British encouraged commercial crops like jute, sugar, wheat, and cotton for their industries. 

Changes in Forest Societies Under Colonialism

Parts of the forest are cut and burnt in rotation in shifting cultivation. This is harmful to the forest. Shifting cultivation also made it difficult for the government to calculate taxes. The changes in the forest management affected the Nomadic and Pastoralist communities. They were restricted from entering into a forest. Some Pastoralists had to change their lifestyle; they had to lessen the number of cattle, which reduced their income. Firm trading in timber products made huge profits and became richer. They became powerful and began to cut trees. British had made it clear that the system of forestry would be scientific forestry. Plantation owners began to get profits from the large areas of forest land given by the British government. British officials had the forest and animals to themselves. Hunting was their big sport. 

Location of Bastar and the beliefs of the Bastar people

Bastar is located in the southern part of Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra. The central part of Bastar is on a  Plateau. The Bastar people believed that the land was given by earth, and in return, they had to look after earth by making some offerings at each agricultural festival. They show respect to the spirits of the river, the forest and the mountain. Some villages engaged security guards to protect the forest, offering some households to pay them. 

Causes and Results of Bastar Rebellion

The people of Bastar were worried when the colonial government stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce. The other village people were displaced without any notice or compensation. rEbellion became inevitable when the famines came in 1899-1900 and again in 1907-1908.

Work on the reservation was temporarily suspended, and the reserves areas were reduced roughly half of that planned before 1910. The Dutch banned the shifting cultivation, and they wanted timber from Java to build ships. Villagers were punished for grazing their cattle in young stands. The Dutch imposed rents on land and exempted some villages from these rents if they worked collectively to provide free labour.

Forest Rebellion in Java

A teak forest villager called Surontiko Samin started questioning the state ownership of the forest. Soon a widespread movement began, and Samin’s sons-in-law supported the organisation. Three thousand families were followed his ideas by 1907. When the Dutch came to survey it, some of the Sam insists protested by lying down on their land while otters refused to pay taxes.   

World wars and Deforestation

The first and second world wars had a significant impact on forests. The forest department cut trees freely to meet British war needs when the working plans were abandoned in India. The Dutch followed a ‘scorched earth policy and destroyed sawmills. The Japanese forced villagers to cut down forests and exploited the forests recklessly. After the war, it was difficult for the Indonesian forest service to get back the land. People in India need for agricultural land had brought them into conflict with the forest department’s desire to control the land and exclude people from it.  

Get Forest society and colonialism class 9 whole chapter notes, questions and answers below.

NCERT Solutions Class 9 History Chapter 4

Forest Society and Colonialism

Page No: 96


  1. Discuss how the changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people : 

(i) Shifting cultivators

(ii) Nomadic and pastoralist communities

(iii) Firms trading in timber/forest produce

(iv) Plantation owners

(v) Kings/British officials engaged in hunting.


(i) Shifting cultivators practise slash and burn agriculture. In this practises, parts of the forest are cut and burnt in rotation. European foresters regarded this practice as harmful for the forests. They felt that such land could not be used for growing trees for railway timber and was dangerous while being burnt as it could start a forest fire. This type of cultivation also made it difficult for the government to calculate taxes. Thus, the Colonial government banned shifting cultivation. As a result, many communities were forcibly displaced from their homes in the forests. Some had to change occupations, while some resisted through large and small rebellions.

(ii) The reservation of forest areas by the British Government also sealed the fate of many nomadic and pastoral communities like the Korava, Karachi and Yerukula of the Madras Presidency lost their means of livelihood. Earlier, these people and their cattle depended totally on the forest they were deprived of because of the new forest management. Some of these communities began to be called ‘criminal tribes’ and were forced to work in factories, mines, and plantations under government supervision. Thus, these people were forced to operate within new systems and reorganise their lives.

(iii) Firms trading in timber products were given the sole trading rights to trade in the forest products of particular areas. They made huge profits and became richer. The entire timber and forest trade was passed on to them. They became powerful and began to cut down trees indiscriminately.

(iv) Plantation owners found that more and more forest land could be cleared for plantations. The British had made it very clear that their forestry system would be scientific forestry, i.e., plantations. Plantation owners began to reap profits as the British government gave large areas of forest land to European planters.

(v) While the forest dwellers were deprived of their right to hunt deer, partridges, and various small animals, the Indian Kings and British officials were allowed to hunt freely in the reserved forests. Under colonial rule, hunting increased to such an extent that various species became extinct. A large number of tigers, leopards, wolves were killed as sporting trophies. Hunting or shikar became a sport. Later the environmentalists and conservators realised many species of animals needed to be protected and not killed.

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

Answer: The similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and Java were:

  • Forest laws were enacted in Java and Bastar. 
  • These laws restricted villagers’ access to forests. 
  • Timber could be cut from only specified forests and under close supervision.
  • Villagers were punished for entering forests and collecting forest products without a permit. 
  • Permits were issued to the villagers for entry into forests and forest products. 
  • Both had a forest service. 
  • Both followed a system of forestry, which was known as scientific forestry.
  • In both places, Forest Acts meant severe hardship for villagers. Their everyday practices — cutting wood for their houses, grazing their cattle, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal. 
  • Constables and forests guards began to harass people.
  1. Between 1880 and 1920, forest 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

(i) Railways (ii) Shipbuilding (iii) Agricultural expansion (iv) Commercial farming (v) Tea/Coffee plantations (vi) Adivasis and other peasant users.


(i) Railways played a vital role in the decline of the forest cover in India. For laying railway tracks, forest land had to be cleared. Apart from clearing areas for ways, railway locomotives required timber for fuel and sleepers. For all these needs, forests had to be cut down. The British government gave contracts to individuals to supply the necessary quantity of timber. These individuals cut down trees indiscriminately.

(ii) By the end of the 19th century, oak forests in England had almost disappeared. This created a shortage of timber for the Royal Navy. If the imperial power was to be protected and maintained, the building of ships was the priority. So, search parties were sent to explore the forest resources of India. A large number of sleepers began to be exported to England annually. This further led to the indiscriminate cutting of trees year after year, which caused deforestation on a massive scale.

(iii) Population was on the rise and the demand for food increased. Peasants extended the boundaries of cultivation by clearing forests. This gave them more land available for cultivation. In addition, there was a great demand for cash crops such as tea, cotton, jute, sugar, etc., which were needed to feed the industries of England.

(iv) The British directly encouraged the production of commercial crops like jute, sugar, wheat and cotton. The demand for these crops increased in the 19th century in Europe, where foodgrains were needed to feed the growing urban population, and raw materials were required for industrial production. Hence, large tracts of forest land were cleared to make land available for commercial farming.

(v) The colonial state thought that forest land was unproductive. It did not yield agricultural produce nor revenue. Large areas of natural forests were hence cleared to make way for tea, coffee and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s growing need for these commodities. The colonial government took over the forests and gave vast areas to European planters at cheap rates. The areas were enclosed and cleared of forests and planted with tea or coffee.

(vi) The Adivasis and other peasant users gather forest products and graze their cattle. This does not destroy the forests except sometimes in shifting agriculture. In fact, now, the new trends that promote forest conservation tend to involve local villagers in conservation and preservation. The Adivasis and other peasant communities regard the forests as their own and even engage security guards to keep a vigil over their forests.

  1. Why are forests affected by wars?


Forests are an essential resource, and hence during wars, they are destroyed by their own country under the ‘a scorched earth policy. Forests are affected by wars, and this often leads to deforestation. Forests during wars are freely cut to meet the needs of war. This prevents the enemy from using this resource. Many villagers used this opportunity to expand cultivation in the forest.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  1. What is deforestation? 

Answer: Cutting down trees indiscriminately in a forest area is called deforestation.

  1. Where did the Bastar Rebbillion start?

Answer: It was started in the Kanger forest area and soon spread to other parts of the state. 

  1. What was the impact of the disappearing Oak forests in England? 

Answer: The problem created in timber supplying for the Royal Navy due to the disappearing Oak forests in England. 

  1. What does ‘sleepers’ mean?

Answer: sleepers are wooden planks laid across railway tracks to hold the railway tracks in position. 

  1. When did the Indian Forest Service set up?

Answer: The Indian Forest Service was set up in 1864.

  1. Who was the first Inspector General of Forest in India? 

Answer: Dietrich Brandis was the first Inspector General of Forest in India. 

  1. When did the railway network expand rapidly in India?

Answer: The railway network expanded rapidly in India from the 1860s.

  1. Name any two beverage crops.

Answer: Coffee and Tea are two beverage crops.

  1. What is Scientific Forestry? 

Answer: A system of cutting trees controlled by the forest department, varieties of trees are cut, and one type of trees are planted is called scientific forestry.  

  1. Where was the Imperial Forest Research Institute set up?

Answer: The Imperial Forest Research Institute was set up at Dehradun in 1906.

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