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

Q- 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-

1. Railways

2. Shipbuilding

3. Agricultural expansion

4. Commercial farming

5. Tea/Coffee plantation

6. Adivasis and other peasants users

Answer- 1. Railways: During the colonial rule in India, There was a great demand of sleepers for the railways. And in those days sleepers were made out from wood. Thus, expansion of Railways led to deforestation in a large scale.

2. Shipbuilding: As ships were the integral part of the military powers of the British, So the shipbuilding industries play a very important role in it. For the manufacturing of ships for attack. A large amount of wood is needed to fulfill this requirement or need of the wood people started cutting trees in a large scale.

3. Agricultural Expansion: With the growing or increasing population of Europe, gave rise to the demand of food so to meet this demand. The peasants want more land to be cultivated for more crop production. So people at that time started clearing forests and cultivating the clear land for more production to meet the raised demand of food grain and other important products in Europe.

4. Commercial farming: For the expansion of British colonies, British ordered their colonies farmers to grow commercial crops such as Indigo e.t.c. Indigo and other commercial crops were the crops that makes land unfit for cultivation for about 5-6 years after 1 time used for agriculture. So people started clearing forests to grow commercial crop for British.

5. Tea/Coffee Plantation: At that time there was an increase in demand of tea and coffee in Britain. The climate of north-eastern and the eastern coast was best for the cultivation of Tea and coffee so British ordered Indian peasants to grow tea and coffee so to meet their need people or farmers in India started clearing forests and cropping tea as well as coffee in that land.

6. Adivasis and other peasants users: Adivasis had always been the protectors of forests and hence they had no role in deforestation. However, some peasants may have utilized the opportunity to expand the cultivated land; as had happened in Java. Moreover, the significant increase in cultivated land also indicated towards clearing of forests for farming.

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