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.