What were the consequences of the Forest Act in India?
The 1878 Forest Act, divided forests in India into three categories reserved, protected and village forests.
The consequences of this Act were :
- Villagers used forests for different needs, i.e. for fuel, fodder and leaves. After Forest Act they could not take anything from the reserved forests.
- In forest areas people graze their cattle, collect fruits and roots and hunt animals and fish. Almost everything was available in the forest for their livelihood. The Forest Act meant severe hardship for them. All their practices became illegal.
- Circumstances forced the villagers to steal wood and if they were caught, forest guard claimed bribe from them. Women who collected fuelfood were scared of the forest guards as they harassed them and demanded free food.
- After the Forest Act, the forest department only encouraged to plant Teak and Sal tree for commercial uses.