This collection of articles by noted environmental historian Richard P Tucker is an attempt to trace Indian forest history from the colonial era to its post-Independence legacy. It is a study of the evolution of forest policy at the national level, in counterpoint with management at the provincial and local levels, primarily in the Himalayan districts. A Forest History of India highlights the two main strains of conflict that characterize the evolution of professional forestry in India. First, the tension between the subsistence needs of the local population and the commercial needs of the colonial state, and second, the clash between the forest department, which sought to preserve and manage forests, and the revenue department, which was driven by the need to expand agriculture and industry. Written mostly in the 1980s and 1990s, these articles were among the first environmental history studies in India and contribute significantly to the understanding of the colonial legacy for post-Independence management of India's natural resources.
"A wide-ranging and valuable collection of essays from a pioneering historian of tropical forestry."
- Ramachandra Guha
"[The book] deepens our understanding of India's environment history within the broader analytical and global contest [...] The book is a useful reference for scholars of environment history in India as a compilation of a set of the author's main publications from the region."
- Current Science
- Forest Management and Imperial Politics: Thana District, Bombay, 1823-1887
- The Forests of the Western Himalayas: The Legacy of British Colonial Administration
- The British Colonial System and the Forests of the Western Himalayas, 1815-1914
- The Historical Context of Social Forestry in the Kumaon Himalayas
- The Evolution of Transhumant Grazing in the Punjab Himalaya
- The British Empire and India's Forest Resources: The Timberlands of Assam and Kumaon, 1914-1950
- The Depletion of India's Forests under British Imperialism: Planters, Foresters and Peasants in Assam and Kerala
- The Commercial Timber Economy under Two Colonial Regimes in Asia
- Resident Peoples and Wildlife Reserves in India: The Prehistory of a Strategy
- Non-timber Forest Products Policy in the Western Himalayas under British Rule
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Richard P Tucker is Adjunct Professor of World Environmental History at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, USA. He is a specialist on the environmental history of India, which is a progression of his earlier work on the freedom movement in Maharashtra. His first book was Ranade and the Roots of Indian Nationalism (1977). Recently, he has studied the global neoimperial impacts of the United States in Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (2000). He is presently the coordinator of an international network on the environmental impacts of war and mass violence; his first work in this area was co-edited with Edmund Russell, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of War (2004).