Himalayan Degradation, Colonial Forestry and Environmental Change in India questions the recent trend of treating environmental and agrarian concerns as two separate domains. In this aspect, the book goes beyond the existing framework of environmental history that focuses only on the study of state policies and debates over redefining rights and examining protests. The author makes a careful study of the larger rural economy, emphasising the changing significance of pastoralism, trade and foraging in the life of the common people. He links forest degradation and environmental change to socioeconomic transformation.
The introduction of ‘scientific forestry' in the late nineteenth century transformed forests into a profitable resource for commercial purposes. Forests were overexploited, which resulted in wider ecological changes in the Himalaya . Underlining the centrality of forests and mountain resources to the livelihood and culture of the people of Uttarakhand, the book subjects the notion of sustainable management of forests to close scrutiny.
The book will be of interest to historians, environmentalists, policy-makers, social scientists and general readers.