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Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826–2000$
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Arupjyoti Saikia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198069539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198069539.001.0001

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Forests in Assam

Forests in Assam

Merchant Trade to Imperial Economy

(p.146) 4 Forests in Assam
Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826–2000

Arupjyoti Saikia

Oxford University Press

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

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