Answer :

(i) Shifting Cultivators: European foresters regarded shifting cultivation practice as harmful for the forests. They felt that the land which was used for cultivation every few years could not grow trees for railway timber. When a forest was burnt, there was the added danger of the flames spreading and burning valuable timber. Shifting cultivation also made it harder for the government to calculate taxes. Therefore, the government decided to ban shifting cultivation. As a result, many shifting cultivators were forcibly displaced from their homes in the forests.

(ii) Nomadic and Pastoralist Communities: When the forest department took control of the forests, many people lost out in many ways. With the coming of the British, however, trade was completely regulated by the government. In the process, many pastoralists and nomadic communities like Korava, Karacha and Yerukula of the Madras Presidency lost their livelihoods. Some began to be called as ‘criminal tribes’ and were forced to work instead in factories, mines and plantations under government supervision.

(iii) Firms trading in timber/forest produce: The British government gave many large European trading firms the sole right to trade in forest products in particular areas. Grazing and hunting by the local people were restricted.

(iv) Plantation owners: Large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for tea, coffee, and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s growing need for these commodities. The colonial government took over the forests and gave vast areas to European planters at cheap rates. These areas were enclosed and cleared of forests, and planted with tea or coffee.

(v) Kings/British officials engaged in hunting: The new forest laws changed the lives of forest dwellers in many ways. Before the forest laws, many people who lived in or near forest areas had survived by hunting. The forest laws deprived people of their customary rights to hunt; hunting of big game became a sport. In India, hunting of tigers and other animals had been part of the culture of the court and nobility for centuries.

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