Forest and Wildlife Department,

Government of Uttar Pradesh, India

Overview

Mention of vast forests over large tracts of this State is found in the great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharat. During medieval time, the Rajahs and Nawabs maintained the more accessible portion of the forests as game reserves for their personal enjoyment but no serious attempts were made to regulate the working of the forests, especially as considerable stretches were still under thick natural forests which could easily meet all the needs of the people.

Under British rule, part of the territory of this state was administered as part of Bengal till 1835. When the North Western Province was created in 1902, Avadh and Agra provinces were amalgamated. After attaining Independence in 1947, the princely States of Tehri-Garhwal, Rampur and Benaras were merged with Uttar Pradesh in 1949.

The history of forest conservation in Uttar Pradesh begins in 1800 when forest areas in Kumaon, Dehra Dun and Terai came under the British. In the early stages a small fee was levied for the forest produce removed by the exporters. In 1826, cutting of sal was prohibited in certain areas.

Between 1855 and 1861, large scale fellings took place to meet the heavy demands for railway sleepers.

Major Ramsey, Commissioner of Kumaon, was appointed as the first Conservator of Forests in addition to his other duties. He introduced rotational working and insisted on trees being marked before felling. In 1867 he introduced fire protection in the sal forests. Gorakhpur forests were worked for sal to meet the needs of ship building.

Due to the pressure of population, forests in this tract were cleared over large areas. Between 1830 and 1855 many settlers colonised in the forests areas. In the Vindhyas, in the early stages a lot of destruction was caused by Dhaiya system of cultivation. It was not till 1855 that Government realised the need for preservation of these northern forests.

During 1879 to 1894 settlement, demarcation, division of forests into blocks and compartments and constitution of new divisions were all undertaken. The first Working Plan Division was created in 1884. Afforestation in Uttar Pradesh began as a result of the visit of Brandis in 1879 to the ravine area of Etawah district. During the years 1886-1900 chir pine forests of Chakrata and Nainital were put under the shelter-wood system. In 1896 a departmental distillery for resin was erected. Sal forests were managed from 1914 onwards under the shelter-wood system with periodic blocks, except in Gorakhpur where the clear felling system was adopted . In the year 1918 a separate research division was created. In 1920 the Working Plan Circle was constituted.