(Last Updated on : 17-05-2011)
Superintendent of Forest Produce, as mentioned in Chapter XVII of Book II of Arthashastra, shall collect timber and other forest products by employing those who guard the forests from any attacks and theft. He shall not only save the forests from any commercial investment and use of forest land for productive purpose but also levy taxes on those who intend to misuse the land and cause damage to the land except the natural calamities. Kautilya
makes a list of trees, creepers, vegetation, floras and faunas to be included in the forest area of the kingdom. According to Arthashastra a forests is one of the biggest assets of a kingdom which can be utilised for many purposes. A dense forest can be utilised as the boundary of the kingdom which will keep its enemies several miles away from them; a forest can be productively utilised for medicinal purposes as a forest contains many natural fauna useful for medication. Besides a forest also contains some animals which are useful for medicinal cause like snakes etc. Arthashastra puts a list of such floras and faunas which exists in Maurya Empire
Superintendent of Forest Produce makes a list of forest products available in dense forest. This includes Teak, Tilika, Arjun, Madhuka, Shishu and many more. Further there are groups of bamboo, groups of creepers like Cane, Betel etc; plants which are required in rope making; some floras which yield leaves, some flowers while some are vital for medicinal value. Also the forests are required for the significant animals which shall be required mainly for medicines. Arthashastra makes a special mention of snakes ad worms kept in the pots for this purpose. The bones of deceased animals can be grinded and used as medicines. Further forests are equally required for fodder and fire woods though Kautilya prohibits against pulling down a tree for fire wood. Rather the wood of a dead tree can be utilised for the purpose.
Thus, Superintendent of Forest Produce is supposed to have full knowledge of all the trees and floras which the kingdom possesses and utilize them as and when required. He can further draw out some economical value from the forests which produce a lot of products as fruits of forests.