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

Last Updated : 22 Apr, 2024
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The British believed that Indian farmers were damaging the forests with their farming. They wanted to control the forests and use scientific methods. To stop farmers, they made laws restricting forest use but still made money from them. The chapter “Forest Society and Colonialism” explains this, with important questions for exams. BYJU’S experts solved NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 4, giving clear answers.

In this article, we are going to discuss NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Social Science Chapter 4: Forest Society and Colonialism in detail.


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

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

Chapter 4 – Forest Society and Colonialism talks about forests. It explains how industries and cities grew, needing more wood for ships, trains, and towns. Students learn about new forest rules, how forests were managed, colonial influence, mapping forests, types of trees, and planting trees. This chapter shows how these changes happened in India and Indonesia.

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: Farmers who move around: European settlers didn’t like farmers who moved around because they thought it harmed forests. They made rules to stop them from moving and many lost their jobs and homes.

(II) Nomadic and pastoralist communities: People who move with animals: Some groups from Madras like Korava, Karacha, and Yerukula lost their jobs and were called ‘criminal tribes’ by the British. They had to work in factories, mines, and plantations controlled by the government.

(III) Firms trading in timber/forest products: Companies that sell wood/forest stuff: European companies were the only ones allowed to sell forest products in certain areas. Local people couldn’t let animals graze or hunt there.

(IV) Plantation owners: People who own big farms: Large areas of forests were cut down to make room for tea, coffee, and rubber farms owned mostly by Europeans who got land cheaply.

(V) Kings/ British officials engaged in hunting: Kings/ British leaders who hunt: Forest laws stopped forest people from hunting for food. Hunting became a sport for kings and British leaders, causing some animals to almost disappear.

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


The forest management in Bastar, India, was controlled by the British, and in Java, it was overseen by the Dutch.

(I) Similar to the British, the Dutch needed wood for railway track sleepers.

(II) The British and Dutch colonial rulers passed their own forest laws, granting them full authority over the forests and removing the traditional rights of forest residents.

(III) Both the Dutch and the British prohibited shifting cultivation, claiming it posed a threat to the forests’ survival.

(IV) In Bastar, villagers were permitted to reside in the forests but had to offer unpaid work to the forest department. In Java, the Dutch villages were excused from taxes if they provided unpaid 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) Railways:

Railways were important for trade and military control in colonies. Wood was needed for railway tracks, with many trees cut down to make sleepers, which support the tracks. Large forest areas were cleared to supply materials for railways.

2) Ship Building:

Before the industrial revolution, ships were made of wood. Britain, relying on its Royal Navy, faced a challenge in obtaining timber to build and maintain its ships. To solve this, forests in England and its colonies were extensively cut down, leading to significant deforestation.

3) Agricultural Expansion:

As the population grew, more food was needed. Forests were cleared for agriculture as colonial authorities believed it would increase food production. Since forests were seen as unproductive, they were extensively cleared. Agricultural land increased by 6.7 million hectares between 1880 and 1920, contributing greatly to deforestation.

4) Commercial Farming of Trees:

When forests were cleared for commercial farming, many tree species were lost as only specific types were cultivated commercially.

5) Tea/Coffee Plantation:

To meet the demand for tea and coffee, colonial authorities sold large forest areas to European plantation firms, leading to deforestation as forests were cleared for plantations.

6) Adivasis and Other Peasant Users:

Adivasis and other peasant communities practiced shifting cultivation, where parts of forests were cleared, burned, and used for farming. This reduced forest cover and fertility, making it harder for trees to regrow.

Q.4 Why are forests affected by wars?


Forests are influenced by conflicts because they’re valuable strategic assets. Structures like towers, guard posts, and army camps are often made of wood for easy maintenance and quick dismantling if needed. Additionally, a scorched earth policy may be implemented to deny forests to the enemy. This is about denying both area and resources. For instance, during World War II, when the Japanese invaded the Dutch colony in Indonesia, the Dutch burned large forest areas to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands. However, once the Japanese gained control, they excessively exploited the timber resources for their war needs. This had long-lasting, harmful effects on the local environment for many years.

Forest Society and Colonialism Summary

The NCERT Class 9 India and the Contemporary World – II Chapter 4 talks about the following topics:

1. Why Deforestation?

1.1 Land to be Improved

1.2 Sleepers on the Tracks

1.3 Plantations

2. The Rise of Commercial Forestry

2.1 How were the Lives of People Affected

2.2 How did Forest Rules Affect Cultivation

2.3 Who could Hunt

2.4 New Trades, New Employments and New Services

3. Rebellion in the Forest

3.1 The People of Bastar

3.2 The Fears of the People

4. Forest Transformations in Java

4.1 The Woodcutters of Java

4.2 Dutch Scientific Forestry

4.3 Samin’s Challenge

4.4 War and Deforestation

4.5 New Developments in Forestry

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FAQs – NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Social Science Chapter 4 : Forest Society and Colonialism

What is the Forest Society and colonialism?

In this process of the forest society and colonialism, the large areas of forest were cleared for cultivating commercial crops such as rubber, tea, coffee, etc. The British rulers used the areas because they can produce the crops at cheap rates and sell them in Europe at a high price.

What are the effects of colonialism on forest societies?

Due to colonialism, the area under the forest began to shrink. The Britishers used to collect taxes for these lands that do not do cultivation. The loss of forests led to the creation of villages which resulted in the collection of taxes. The forests in India were inexhaustible.

What is the gist of Forest Society and colonialism?

They enacted forest laws, made huge profits, regulated cultivation, and collected taxes. Furthermore, India lost its forest cover between 1880 and 1920. Timber was cut, transported for shipbuilding, and used to expand railways.

What is called Forest Society?

Forest society is a term used to describe the communities of people who live in and depend on the forests for their livelihoods. These people have diverse cultures, languages, and ways of using forest resources. They may practice shifting cultivation, hunting, gathering, or pastoralism.

What is the major impact of colonialism?

The colonial jolt transformed our national movement, education system, political system, parliamentary and judicial systems, constitution, traffic rules, police, and, in general, the entire political framework.

What were the main effects of colonialism?

The negative impact of colonialism had resulted in systemic racism, cyclical poverty, economic inequity, violence, loss of language and culture, and an enormous number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It was crucial to take concrete steps to address the negative legacies of colonialism.

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