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YOUNG 2 YEAR OLD SISSU COPPICE WITH STANDARDS CHANGA MANGA PLANTATION, PUNJAB. Reproduced from the "Indian Forester," Vol. XXXI
felled and planted an area in the Buxa Reserve which was successful-but this example had not been followed up to the close of the century.
In Assam two quite distinct types of plantations were established-the one of teak, the other of rubber. The Kulsi teak plantation was formed between 1872 and 1881, and extended to 170 acres only. This plantation was a fair success, and its extension was under consideration at the close of the century. The plantation obtained some notoriety in 1879 owing to many young trees being attacked by an insect, the grub tunnelling up the stems and upper shoots of the young trees which were liable to snap off. Mr. A. G. Mein wrote an account of the attack in the Indian Forester (IV, p. 347).
The plantation of india-rubber (Ficus elastica), which was formed at Charduar, was planted with the direct object of replacing the rapidly diminishing supplies from the natural rubber trees of this region which it was foreseen must ultinately be exhausted. The considerable price realised for this rubber at the period and the growing demand rendered the step an imperative one, it being hoped that if Government demonstrated that the plantation could be made a commercial success, private enterprise would subsequently take up the matter. The plantation was commenced by Mr. Gustav Mann in 1873, and by 1883-4 an area of 892 acres had been stocked with rubber trees. Ribbentrop describes the progress of the plantation to 1900 as follows:
"Mr. Mann, fully convinced of the financial advantage to be gained, strongly recommended an indefinite annual extension at the rate of 200 acres per annum. The Government of India supported this proposal, but the Local Government not taking the same view, the work languished, and in 1889 the plantation had extended to only 1043 acres. During that year I visited Assam, and a new impetus was given, and during the next four years 860 acres were added to the planted area. In 1894, however, the work was stopped once more for financial reasons. This had been threatening for some time, and the establishment of new nurseries had been neglected, and, instead of providing a proper continuity of healthy young nursery plants, the under-sized and suppressed specimens from the old nurseries were used, which accounted for comparative want of success in the final plantings of 1893. Mr. Hill, when acting as Inspector-General, visited Assam in 1896, and recommended that the work should once more be vigorously taken in hand. When I visited the plantation, however, in 1897, I strongly deprecated an immediate extension with the bad planting material available.
However, the establishment of new nurseries had already been begun, and a continuous supply of fresh plants will now be maintained. It has been temporarily settled to extend the plantation by another 1000 acres during the next five years, but the annual establishment of new nurseries must not be neglected or, owing to the absence of good planting material, further extension will be much delayed. Moreover, of late years the planters of Assam have begun to grow Ficus elastica in their waste land, and are glad of any surplus of healthy plants, which they should have for the asking. In 1898-9 some experimental tapping was undertaken, and the net profit realised amounted to Rs.93 per maund, against Rs.60, which formed the basis of the calculation, in consequence of which the extension was stopped in 1894."
THE WASTE LANDS
By the end of the century something had been accomplished in the country in the way of forming plantations, but it had been realised that, so far as the great bulk of the forests were concerned, sylvicultural treatment and natural regeneration, combined with certain assistance, would have to be relied on for their maintenance. In addition to the areas classed as forest, however, there existed in each Province a large extent of waste land, aggregating upwards of 380,000 square miles, or considerably more than one-third of the entire area of the British provinces. These waste lands still continued to furnish poor pasturage, only the scrub and scattered trees yielded fuel, and on a small scale small timber for building and agricultural implements. The problem of properly treating these lands had been scarcely touched by the Department. The strength of the staff was altogether insufficient, and funds were not available to grapple with the giant task of turning these wastes into productive areas, both as a source of supply for the people's requirements and as a producer of revenue. This work formed one of the most important, but at the same time one of the most difficult, tasks awaiting the Indian Foresters of the future. On a small scale something in this direction had been commenced by the formation of canal plantations, already mentioned in a previous chapter (p. 307, and by the establishment of fuel and fodder reserves in a few districts. But it was evident that these were only pioneer beginnings. It was necessary that this work should be undertaken in all provinces on a much more comprehensive scale and on a well thought-out and methodical plan. Under
systematic and good management these waste lands should be made to produce heavier crops of fuel and cattle fodder. Manure was still in use as fuel in most provinces, with the result that in spite of the skill and industry with which the Indian ryot cultivated his land the yield of crops was poor. Dr. Voelcker, in his Report on the improvement of Indian agriculture, justly urged the establishment on a large scale of fuel and fodder reserves in order that wood fuel might take the place of cow-dung fuel, the latter being then used to manure the fields. "If wood," he wrote, could be made to take the place of dung for fuel, we should soon come to realise that more wood means more manure, that more manure means heavier crops and an increasing fertility of the soil." But some twenty years before, in 1873, Schlich had suggested the formation of fuel reserves in Behar, in order to save the cow dung for manure, and the suggestion had been made by others. The analogy of the system of communal forests on the continent of Europe would seem to apply to these waste lands. That, in fact, the creation of communal fuel and fodder reserves in the ownership of the villages and small towns, the work being undertaken by the Department, as also the future supervision of the areas as is the case in Europe, may in the future be a possible solution. It will, admittedly, be a work of gigantic magnitude and difficulty, but given the staff and the requisite funds it will not prove beyond the capabilities of the Department, as this history will indicate.
THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE FOREST CROPS
In previous periods of this history it has been made evident that a great proportion of the accessible forests of the country were taken over by the Department in a more or less ruined condition. They were full of over-mature, hollow, or badly shaped trees, which the former timber merchants, who had cut out all the marketable material, had left behind as worthless. And the areas were still subject to firing and grazing. After the inauguration of the Department the first steps taken, as has been mentioned for Oudh and the Central Provinces, was to get rid of these old unsound trees wherever possible, provided they were no longer required, if not too old, as seedbearers. This operation was combined with creeper cutting, an operation of absolute necessity if the trees were to be saved from slow strangulation. Creepers also smother and kill