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THE NILUMBUR TEAK PLANTATIONS, MADRAS. A PLANTATION ABOUT
Photograph by A. B. Jackson
that when the plantation becomes mature, at the age of ninetyfive, the annual income will reach upwards of half a million rupees. This estimate may probably be somewhat excessive, but the plantation is admirably situated for export, on the banks of a most perfect floating stream, and the timber is but little less valuable in the forest than in the depot.”
The second type of successful plantation work in Madras is exemplified by the casuarina plantations formed on the sandy tracts along the east coast. This work, as has been shown, had commenced in Cleghorn's time. As soon as it had become
. demonstrated that these plantations, owing to their rapid growth and the comparative ease with which they were formed, were a paying investment, numerous private persons commenced to undertake the work, with the result that by 1900 extensive areas of casuarina forests were to be seen stretching from the neighbourhood of Ganjam in the north, to the south of Madras city. This species was propagated with fair ease, and at ten years of age a plantation was estimated to yield 40 tons per acre and a net return of about Rs.38 per acre.
The other main type of plantation which proved an indisputable success was the plantations of eucalyptus, which were formed in the neighbourhood of Ootacamund in order to produce supplies of timber and fuel for this growing hill station. Although not actually originated by him the name of Mr. (later Sir) D. E. Hutchins will be for ever associated with this successful work. The first attempts to plant eucalyptus at Ootacamund were made by Captain Cotton in 1843. He was followed by General Morgan in 1856. The first Government plantation was made by Hutchins in 1862. By the end of the century there were very large areas of these plantations owned by both Government and private persons on the Nilgiris and the other hill ranges of South India and on the mountains of Ceylon. They furnished a cheap fuel and some building timber.
The other plantations in Madras, as well as most of those in Bombay, consisted of numerous small blocks either worked by the Department or owned privately; for arboriculture in India by the end of the century was not confined to the work and efforts of the Forest Department.
In Burma the plantation work was a failure up to the arrival of Brandis in that Province. Some valuable teak plantations existed in Burma at the close of the century, viz. at Magayee,
Kyetpaung, Bohenchounga, Kywemaking, Pyunchaung and Prome, aggregating in all some 3668 acres. Some parts of these dated back to 1857, the time when Brandis began his work in Burma. Some of the plantations made at this period failed owing to the areas having been selected primarily for their proximity to markets (e.g. Kyetpaung) and not for their soil—the paramount requirement. Over 75 per cent were said to have been established on good soil, and the growth was considered to be as good as the average growth at Nilumbur, omitting the best of the latter. The Burma plantations had proved expensive. As we have shown, they were started in Brandis' time and were continued after he left. But the work was gradually curtailed and had been almost abandoned by 1900. This was due to Brandis himself ; for when he had acquired an acquaintance with the country and its methods he approached the matter from a totally different angle from the ordinary preconceived notions. He grasped the impossibility of accomplishing anything at all commensurative with the needs of the Province by the ordinarily accepted methods, and issued orders that the taungya system in force in so many of the forests should be utilised to the future benefit of the areas which were first destroyed by it.
The development of the taungya system which, as will be shown in later parts of this history, has since spread to India and will inevitably be applied to extensive areas of the forests in other parts of our Empire, is almost a romance. It is well told by Ribbentrop, who had an extensive knowledge of Burma, where he served for some years, in Forestry in British India, and his description could not be improved :
“A Burmese Forester, Oo Tsan Dun, in charge of the Kabaung Forest at the time, was the first who gave practical effect to the orders issued on the subject, and for some years continued to plant teak in the taungyas he cut and cultivated with paddy and cotton. The plantations thus formed were small, but the results were excellent, and the scheme was followed up, on a somewhat extended scale, by Mr. Graham, for some time Deputy Conservator of Forests in charge of the Toungoo Division. In 1868, however, the area thus cultivated amounted to less than 100 acres. It was at this time contemplated to extend this method of cultivation to 350 acres per annum at a cost of Rs.30 per acre during the first five years. However, for some years hardly any progress was made in the extension of teak taungyas, and by the end of 1872–3 the total area thus cultivated amounted only to some 250 acres. In 1873-4, the then Conservator, Major Seaton, entered into agreements with