(Last Updated on : 15/03/2012)
Developments in forestry were an important agenda that was taken up in the British developments curriculum. The vast tracts of Indian forests
needed urgent attention, in order to protect endangered species of tress and timber. At the same time, knowledge and identification was also necessary. Hence British initiatives towards a methodical development in forestry and management were truly commendable.
In 1855, John McClelland (1800-1883), Superintendent of Forests at Pegu, submitted two reports to the Government of India calling for restrictions of the exploitation of Burma's forests.
In 1856, Lord Dalhousie
(1812-1860) created the Indian Forest Service, which emerged as a permanent service in 1864 as organised under the guidelines issued by Sir Dietrich Brandis (1824-1907) and Hugh Francis Clarke Cleghorn (1820-1895). This was a momentous step towards accentuating developments in forestry, with a zealous goal formulated by British administration. The guidelines called for care in the disposal of wastelands containing forests, demarcating of forests and the enactment of the Indian Forest Act of 1865.
Within the years of 1864-78, Brandis became the first Inspector-General of Forests, India. The 1865 to 1870 period saw the development of fuel plantations for the needs of the railways and the attempt to create fire protection as an element of forest conservancy. A revised Indian Forest Act of 1878 applied to most of India and aimed at improving the demarcation of reserved and protected forests.
In 1869, William Rogers Fisher (1846-1910) was recruited to the Forestry Service. Here, he contributed to forestry education, by his translations of several works on forestry, through his teaching at Coopers Hill and in his service as a Professor of Forestry at Oxford. India is a forest-rich country, and the period being talked about was even more enriched in green beauty. As such ample scope existed to safeguard forests and propagate the meaning of forestry. Thus developments in forestry and complete conservation gradually became the order of the day.
Within the times of 1871-81, James Sykes Gamble (1846-1925) joined the Indian Forest Service holding several assignments in Bengal, Madras and Uttar Pradesh
. From these experiences he prepared: A List of Trees and Scrubs in Darjeeling District
(1878) and a Manual of Indian Timbers
During the passing period of 1875-89, William Alexander Talbot (1847-1917) arrived in India and carried out forestry assignments in Bombay. He compiled A Systemanic List of Trees, Scrubs, and Woody Climbers of the Bombay Presidency (1894) and Forest Flora of the Bombay Presidency and Sind (1909).
In 1878, the first forest school in India was established at Dehra Dun for the training of Indian staff in forestry management. From this clever move British government made a headway towards including natives into the study of forests and ways to conserve it. It became quite apparent that developments in forestry from now on would move on in a swift pace.
In 1885, following a career in the Indian Forest Service, Sir William Schlich (1840-1925) founded the School of Forestry at the Royal Indian Engineering College, Cooper's Hill, England.
In 1888, Henry Haselfoot Haines (1867-1943) entered India and took up duties in Northern Bengal and then in Central India. From his planting collecting experiences, he wrote Forest flora of Chota Nagpur
.... (1910). His interests extended forestry's attention to forest grazing and the herbs found on the forest floor. Developments in forestry was by now a household name, with talented Indians trying their luck in forestry management and English population trying to even spread their educational conclusions to create general awareness.
During the 1890s, Robert Lawrence Heinig served in the Andaman Islands, Chittagong and the Sundarbans. His forestry planning in the Sundarbans supplied Calcutta with its firewood at the turn of the century. He prepared A Forest Manual of the Andamans
(1900) and A List of Plants of the Chittagong Collectorate and Hill Tracts
In 1896, Robert Selby Hole (1874-1938) arrived in India and was assigned to the Central Provinces and then to Dehra Dun. He focused his research on forest composition, ground cover and its relationship to its forest canopy.
In 1905, Sir William Scnlich (1840-1925) initiated the Forestry Institute at Oxford which developed as the major centre for the training of forest officers in the twentieth century.
Following in the footsteps of their English counterpart from the previous year, study of forests in India was also given a facelift. Developments in Indian forestry by the British were gaining an immense impetus with the establishment of even more institutes. In 1906, scientific aspects of forestry were enhanced with the creation of the Imperial Forest Research Institute at Dehra Dun. The Institute was staffed with six officers: the Silverculturist, Superintendent of Forest Working Plans, Forest Zoologist, Forest Chemist and Forest Economist.
In 1926, administrative control of India's forests passed to the provincial governments as a transferred subject in accordance with the principle of dyarchy.