NCERT Solutions For Class 9 History Chapter 4

History is a  broad  subject; it is not only specified to a single nation but the whole world. Students generally find this subject a little tricky as there is so much to read about. Class 9 Social Science Chapter 4 History- Forest Society and Colonialism discusses the expansion of industry and urban centres, the use of ships and railroads, and the  growing need for timber and other forest products. New regulations of forest usage, new means of organising the forest, colonial control, how forest regions were mapped , trees were classified , and plantations were developed  will  be covered.  This chapter will also cover the history of similar developments in India and Indonesia. 

NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 4 will assist students in studying this  chapter  in a thorough and concise manner. With the help of Extramarks Class 9 History Chapter 4 Notes and Question Answers, students can study all of the topics  in the chapter. In addition to the NCERT Solutions, students can use the Extramarks website to access a number of other study materials. NCERT books, CBSE revision notes, CBSE sample papers, CBSE past year question papers, and other references  are available on Extramarks website. Students can register on our website and get access to these study resources.

Key Topics Covered In NCERT Solutions For Class 9 History Chapter 4

The following key topics are covered in NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4- Forest Society and Colonialism:

Why Deforestation?
The Rise of Commercial Forestry
Rebellion in the Forest
Forest Transformations in Java

Extramarks provides in-depth information on each subtopic in NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4- Forest Society and Colonialism.

Why Deforestation?

Extramarks NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 3 explains to students the concept of  deforestation in detail. Deforestation refers to the loss of forests and is not a new problem. . It began several centuries ago, but it became more systematic and widespread during colonial rule. .

Land to be Improved

Peasants began clearing forests and breaking new land as the population grew and the demand for food increased over time. Commercial crops such as sugar, jute, wheat, and cotton were encouraged  by the British. The demand for these crops grew throughout the nineteenth century to feed the growing urban population. In the early  nineteenth century, the colonial state believed that woods were unproductive. Cultivated lands and an increase in agriculture showed signs of improvement between 1880 and 1920 by 6.7 million hectares.

Sleepers on the Tracks

Oakwoods were vanishing in England by the early nineteenth century. To investigate the forest resources in India, search groups were sent. Railways began to develop in the 1850s. Railways were necessary for colonial trade and imperial army transportation. The railway network began to expand significantly in the 1860s. As railway tracks extended across India, a large number of trees were felled. . Individuals were given contracts by the government to deliver the requisite quantities. . The forests that surrounded the railway tracks began to vanish.


To accommodate Europe's expanding need for these commodities, large tracts of natural forests were cleared  to make way for coffee, tea, and rubber plantations. The colonial administration took over the forests and sold these areas  to European planters  at cheap rates  to cultivate tea or coffee.

The Rise of Commercial Forestry

The British were concerned about traders' carelessly using trees and  use  of woods by local people would result in forest destruction. Dietrich Brandis, a German specialist and India's first Inspector General of Woods, saw the necessity for a comprehensive system to manage the forests and for personnel to be taught in conservation science. However, it required legal backing. The Indian Forest Service was established in Dehradun in 1864. Natural forests with many different varieties of trees were taken down in ‘scientific forestry’ and replaced by trees planted in straight rows called a plantation . The Forest Act was passed in, 1865 and it was revised two times, once in 1878 and again in 1927. Forests were put into three different categories by the Act of 1878: reserved, protected, and village forests.

Extramarks provides NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4 that give students  topic wise explanations of the chapter in detail. Browse through  these handy notes by Extramarks.

How were the lives of people affected?

Villagers wanted woods with a variety of species to meet their requirements for firewood, fodder, and leaves. The forest service, on the other side, was looking for trees like teak and sal that were  ideal for building  ships or railways. Many forest products were made from roots, leaves, fruits, and tubers. Almost everything was accessible in the forest, including plants, yokes, ploughs, bamboo, and so on. Oil was collected from the mahua tree's fruit for  cooking and to light lamps. Bark of the semur is used to grate vegetables.Villagers  suffered greatly as a result of the Forest Act. People were compelled to steal  wood from the trees because they couldn't afford it otherwise. If they were caught by  the forest guards, they would take  bribes from them. People were harassed by police constables and forest guards who wanted free meals from them.

How did Forest Rules Affect Cultivation?

During European colonisation or swidden agriculture, the practice of shifting cultivation or swidden farming was introduced. In many countries of Africa, Asia, and South America, it is a traditional agricultural technique. Seeds were sowed in the ashes after the first monsoon rains, and the crop is harvested in October-November. Such plots are planted for a few years before being left fallow  for 12 to 18 years for the forest to grow back. This approach, according to European foresters, was damaging for the forests. This sort of farming also made tax calculation difficult  for the government. As a result, the government decided to ban  shifting cultivation.

Who Could Hunt?

People who lived in woodlands hunted deer, partridges, and other small animals to subsist. The activity was outlawed under forest rules, and individuals found hunting were prosecuted as poachers. Tigers and other animal hunting have been a part of Indian royal and aristocratic tradition for many generations. It was under colonial authority that the scale of hunting expanded to the point that many species died extinct. Killing wild creatures earned you a reward. Hunting was permitted in some sections of the forest.

New Trades, New Employments and New Services

In trade, new opportunities emerged. Forest commerce in India dates back to the mediaeval period when Adivasi groups employed nomadic communities like the Banjaras to sell elephants and other items such as skins, horns, silk cocoons, ivory, bamboo, spices, fibres, grasses, gums, and resins. However, commerce was heavily regulated by the government, which granted several big European trading enterprises exclusive rights to trade in certain forest products. People's well-being did not improve as a result of new job opportunities.

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Rebellion in the Forest

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4 by Extramarks provides students with notes on rebellion in the Forest. Forest communities fought back against the changes that were being forced upon them. The Santhal Parganas' Siddhu and Kanu, Chhotanagpur's Birsa Munda, and Andhra Pradesh's Alluri Sitarama Raju  were some of the leaders of the  movements against the British..

The People of Bastar

Bastar lies in Chhattisgarh's southernmost region, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Maharashtra. The central plateau of Bastar is bordered on the north by the Chhattisgarh plain and on the south by the Godavari plain. Bastar is home to a variety of groups, including the Maria and Muria Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras, and Halbas. The inhabitants of Bastar believed that the Earth gave each hamlet its land, and in exchange, they looked after it by making offerings at each agricultural festival. Local villagers are responsible for all-natural resources within their boundary.  If individuals wish to take some  wood from another village  forest, they must pay a nominal charge known as devsari, dand, or man.

The Fears of the People

In the year 1905, the colonial authorities suggested reserving two-thirds of the forest and prohibiting hunting, shifting agriculture, and collection of forest produce. Villagers have long been harmed by rising land rents and frequent demands for free labour and commodity demands by colonial officials. Also, famines in 1899-1900 & in 1907 to 1908. Reservations proved to be the last straw.  People began to address these topics during village council meetings, festivals, and bazaars. The Kanger forest's Dhurwas took the lead in the first reserve. Bazaars were plundered, officials' and traders' homes were burned and robbed, schools and police stations were robbed, and food was redistributed. Every village contributed to the rebellion, there was no single leader though. To put down the revolt, British troops were dispatched.

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Forest Transformations in Java

In Indonesia, Java is   famous as a  rice-producing island. However, there was a period when it was mostly covered with woods. The Dutch began forest management in Java. In addition to villages in the  fertile plains, several groups lived in the highlands and practised shifting cultivation . The experts at  Extramarks have curated  NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 4, which provides students with well-explained notes.

The Woodcutters of Java

The Javanese Kalangs were expert forest cutters and roving cultivators. They were excellent at harvesting teak and supplying it to the monarchs for the construction of their palaces. In the eighteenth century, as the Dutch began to acquire control of the woodlands, they attempted to enslave the Kalangs. The Kalangs fought back in 1770 by storming a Dutch fort at Joana, but the revolt was suppressed..

Dutch Scientific Forestry

The Dutch came up with forest laws  in Java in the nineteenth century, limiting locals' access to woods. Villagers were fined for hauling wood without permission, grazing cattle, and using horse carts or animals on forest routes. The Dutch first levied rents on forest property that was being cultivated, then freed some settlements from these charges provided they worked together to offer free labour and buffaloes for cutting and transporting  timber.  This system was known as  blandongdiensten. 

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Samin's Challenge

Surontiko Samin of Randublatung village, a community of teak forest, questioned the state's ownership of the forest, claiming that because the wind, water, soil, and wood were not produced by the state, it could not be owned. A widespread movement arose soon after. When the Dutch arrived to survey their land, some Saminists protested by lying down on their land, while others refused to pay taxes, penalties, or perform labour. .

War and Deforestation

First as well as the Second World Wars had a significant impact on woodlands. The Dutch used a "scorched earth"  policy in Java, demolishing sawmills and burning massive heaps of teak wood. It was very difficult for the Indonesian forest service to claim back this territory after the conflict.

New Developments in Forestry

Forest conservation has become a more significant and upcoming priority. Dense forests have survived  in many areas across India, from Mizoram to Kerala,  only  because villages safeguarded them in holy groves such as sarnas, devarakudu, kan, rai, and etc.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 3 will help students prepare the complete systematic and vast  information for chapter 4. 

NCERT Solutions For Class 9 History Chapter 4 Forest Society and Colonialism NCERT Solutions Article Links

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

Shifting cultivators

Nomadic and pastoralist communities

Firms trading in timber/forest produce

Plantation owners

Kings/British officials engaged in shikar

Ans. Shifting cultivators: Shifting cultivation (swidden agriculture) was affected severely by the colonial forest laws. It is a traditional agricultural practice in Asia, Africa and South America. In local languages, it is called as lading in Southeast Asia, milpa in Central America, chitemene or tavy in Africa, and chena in Sri Lanka. In India, dhya, penda, bewar, nevad, jhum, podu, khandad and kumri are some of the local terms for the shifting cultivation. In this cultivation method, parts of the forest are cut and burnt in rotation. Seeds are sown in the ashes after the first monsoon rains, and the crop is harvested by October-November. Millet crop in central India and Africa, manioc in Brazil, and maize and beans in Latin America are grown. Colonial foresters regarded this practice as harmful for the forests. They argued that the shifting cultivation destroyed the growth of trees useful for railway timber. This traditional cultivation practice also made it harder for the government to calculate taxes. Therefore, the government decided to ban shifting cultivation and destroyed the livelihood of the cultivators.

Nomadic and pastoralist communities: In India, Adivasi communities traded elephants and other goods like hides, horns, silk cocoons, ivory, bamboo, spices, fibres, grasses, gums and resins through nomadic communities like the Banjaras. With the coming of the British, however, trade was completely regulated by the government. The British government gave many large European trading firms the sole right to trade in the forest products of particular areas. Grazing and hunting by local communities were restricted. In the process, many pastoralist and nomadic communities like the Korava, Karacha and Yerukula of the Madras Presidency lost their livelihoods. Some of them were described as ‘criminal tribes’, and were forced to work instead in factories, mines and plantations, under government supervision.

Firms trading in timber/forest produce: The British government gave many large European trading firms the right to trade in the forest products. Grazing and hunting by local people were restricted. In the process, many pastoralist and nomadic communities lost their livelihoods. Some of them were branded as ‘criminal tribes’ and their movements were regulated within the forest areas.

Plantation owners: The colonial government took over the forests, and gave vast areas to European planters at cheap rates. These areas were enclosed and cleared of forests, and planted with tea or coffee. Plantation owners realised that forest land could be converted into plantation fields for more profits. They occupied forests and exploited natural resources meant for the tribal communities.

Kings/British officials engaged in shikar: Before the introduction of colonial forest laws, tribal communities survived by hunting deer, partridges and other small animals. The forest laws prohibited this customary practice and punished the violators for poaching. Under colonial rule, due to intense hunting practice, various species became almost extinct. The British saw large animals as signs of a wild, primitive and savage society. They wanted to civilize India by killing dangerous animals. They encouraged killing of tigers by giving rewards. Over 80,000 tigers, 150,000 leopards and 200,000 wolves were killed for reward in the period 1875-1925 on the grounds that they posed a threat to cultivators. Gradually, the tiger came to be seen as a sporting trophy. The Maharaja of Sarguja alone shot 1,157 tigers and 2,000 leopards up to 1957. A British administrator, George Yule, killed 400 tigers. Initially certain areas of forests were reserved for hunting.

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

Ans. The similarities between colonial management of the forests in Bastar and Java were:
i. Forest laws were made in Java and Bastar in India to restrict villagers’ access to forests. Villagers were also displaced without any notice or compensation.

ii. Timber could be cut for only specified purpose (like making river boats or constructing houses, and only from specific forests under close supervision.

iii. Villagers were punished for grazing cattle, transporting wood without a permit, or travelling on forest roads with horse carts or cattle. Permits were issued to the villagers for entry into forests and collection of forest products.

iv. Forests in Java and Bastar followed a system of forestry known as ‘scientific forestry’.

v. In countries, the Forest Acts meant severe hardship for villagers.

vi. Their everyday practices — cutting wood for their houses, grazing their cattle, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal.

Q.3 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:

  • Railways
  • Shipbuilding
  • Agricultural expansion
  • Commercial farming
  • Tea/Coffee plantations
  • Adivasis and other peasant users

Ans. Railways: The spread of railways from the 1850s created a new demand for timbers. To run locomotives, wood was needed as fuel, and to lay railway lines sleepers were essential to hold the tracks together. Each mile of railway track required between 1,760 and 2,000 sleepers. From the 1860s, the railway network expanded rapidly. By 1890, about 25,500 km of track had been laid. In 1946, the length of the tracks had increased to over 765,000 km. As the railway tracks spread through India, trees were felled and deforestation intensified. As early as the 1850s, in the Madras Presidency alone, 35,000 trees were felled annually for sleepers. The British government deployed contractors destroyed trees and supplied the required quantities of timbers. Forests around the railway tracks witnessed an intense deforestation.

Shipbuilding: By the early nineteenth century, oak forests in England were disappearing and it affected the timber supply for the Royal Navy. English shipbuilding industry needed a regular supply of strong and durable timber, and the imperial power needed to be protected and maintained with a powerful navy. By the 1820s, colonial contractors were sent to search for the forest with timbers in India. Within a decade, trees were being felled on a massive scale and vast quantities of timber were being exported from India.

Agricultural expansion: In the colonial period, cultivation expanded rapidly for a variety of reasons. Increase in population resulted in the demand for more foodgrains. Peasants expanded the boundaries of cultivation, clearing forests and breaking new land. The British directly encouraged the production of commercial crops like jute, sugar, wheat and cotton. There were demands for these crops in the nineteenth-century European markets; food grains were needed to feed the growing urban population and raw materials were required for industries. In the early nineteenth century, the colonial state thought that forests were unproductive with wilderness. It brought the unproductive land under cultivation to increase the agricultural products and revenue for the state. So between 1880 and 1920, cultivated area rose by 6.7 million hectares and this process effectively involved the deforestation.

Tea/Coffee plantations: It was always in the agenda of the colonial rule in India to bring the unproductive forests land under cultivation and plantations. In India, large areas of natural forests were cleared for tea, coffee and rubber plantations to European markets. The colonial government took over the forests, and gave vast areas to European planters at cheap rates. The plantation fields were enclosed and cleared of forests, and planted with tea, coffee and rubber.

Adivasis and other peasant users: The Adivasis and peasants collected forest products and grazed their cattle. The source of their livelihood came from forest produce and agricultural products. The colonial government proposed to reserve two-thirds of the forest in 1905. It affected the shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce by the Adivasis. The Adivasis and other peasant communities regarded the forests as the gift of the Earth and even engaged watchmen to keep a vigil over their forest resources. The colonial forest conservation for timbers, plantations and expansion of cultivable lands reduced the Adivasis and the peasant users to a status of mere labourers. They were now hired by the forest department to cut trees, and make smooth planks for the railways and they were not allowed to cut these trees to build their own houses.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What do you mean by Colonial Rule?

A wealthy or powerful nation’s strategy or practice of retaining or extending control over other countries, particularly in terms of creating colonies or exploiting resources.

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