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Beginning in India in 1855, the (British) empire forestry movement developed huge forest reservations into revenue-producing public trusts, which protected the ecosystems they encompassed. By 1900 they covered over 10% of the earth's land surface. A new class of imperial foresters came into existence, who perceived the dangers of deforestation and whose ecological vision was the precursor of modern environmentalism. This is the first global study of the movement and its legacy.