Environment and Ecology Under British Rule

Mahesh Rangarajan

in India and the British Empire

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199259885
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744587 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series

Environment and Ecology Under British Rule

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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The colonial era was a watershed in India's environmental history in a host of ways, but changes that were unleashed from the late nineteenth century onwards have to be set against a long-term backdrop. States had long assisted in and facilitated land colonization and clearance of marsh, jungle, and forest. But the scale and kinds of intervention changed markedly in the colonial period, most sharply with respect to the creation of state forests, the control of wild animals as game or vermin, and the creation of vast tracts of canal-irrigated land. The complex and interwoven tensions around these projects played out in different ways in a vast and diverse subcontinent. This chapter takes stock of these colonial changes and also traces the many dilemmas and choices in the present, arising from the multiple layers of the imperial legacy.

Keywords: forest department; canals; forest act; reserved forests; vermin; game; fire; wildlife; ecology; nationalism; colonial; imperial; peasant protest; adivasi

Chapter.  7897 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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