376 pages, B/w illus, tabs, maps
An analysis of the social and biophysical factors which influenced landscape change. The book also makes a case for comparative studies in forest management which bypass the distinction between first- and third-world experience.
The book is at its best when it examines the interplay of forces at the local level in two relatively contrasting regions - the wooded plains of southwest Bengal and the Himalayan foothills in north Bengal, and also in showing how the gathering of intelligence by Christian missionaries, administrators, military personnel, traders traveling in pursuit of valuable commodities such as precious stones, and scholars helped the British in becoming dominant in this interplay. Modern Forests is arresting when it unfolds the colonial scenario that led to the creation of state-owned forests....The book also gives an insight to how management techniques, developed in the temperate forests of industrial Europe, were transplanted to tropical forests of a predominantly agricultural society. - International Forestry Review
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K. Sivaramakrishnan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington.