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.
The book 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.