Chapter

Forests in Assam

Arupjyoti Saikia

in Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826–2000

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780198069539
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081240 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198069539.003.0005
Forests in Assam

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Commercial exploitation of the forests products became the predominant agenda of the colonial forest policy during the 1870s. During this period, forestry was seen as profit-generating machine where the Imperial Forest Department depended on for its financial profit. This chapter discusses the ways through which the Assam Forest Department became a self-sustaining department and how the department contributed to the colonial revenue earnings. Through codification and valuation survey, the Forest Department paved the way for the commercialization of the forests. This was furthered by the various ways of governmentality such as surveys, working plans, and improved communication which transformed the nature of the forests into commercial hotspots. Timber trade proliferated, minor forest produces were exploited, and forest industrialization emerged increasing the department's revenue. This commercial mechanism retained after the Independence. However, after 1980, the forest production was changed with preservation paradigm as the policy discourse of the Forest Department.

Keywords: commercial exploitation; forests products; colonial forest policy; forestry; Imperial Forest Department; financial profit; Assam Forest Department; colonial revenue earnings; commercialization of the forests; timber trade

Chapter.  22001 words.  Illustrated.

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