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Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826–2000$
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Arupjyoti Saikia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198069539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198069539.001.0001

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Mapping and Imagining Forests

Mapping and Imagining Forests

From Mercantilism to Imperial Forestry

Chapter:
(p.20) 1 Mapping and Imagining Forests
Source:
Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826–2000
Author(s):

Arupjyoti Saikia

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198069539.003.0002

In the early twentieth century, the forests of Assam were described as dense forests. Centuries later, the described forests of the northern bank of river Brahmaputra no longer looked like the way it was described. From forests of magnificence that evoked beautiful writings, the forests are now pictures of ruthless human interventions and of deprived forest virginity. This chapter discusses how the colonial state began mapping the Assam jungles and understood its commercial potentialities. The definition of Assam jungles as reserved and un-classed forests not on the basis of biological science but rather on political and economic meaning forms the focus of the chapter. It also discusses how the early colonial management of the forests became a part of a larger ideological paradigm and eventually the road was cleared for the establishment of the Forest Department in Assam to complete the task of bringing ‘order’ to these jungles.

Keywords:   forests of Assam, dense forests, human interventions, mapping, commercial potentialities, Forest Department

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