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CHAPTER VII

FORESTS

Rights of State in Waste.— Under Indian rule the State claimed full power of disposing of the waste, and, even where an exclusive right in the soil was not maintained, some valuable trees, e.g. the deodar in the Himalaya, were treated as the property of the Raja. Under the tenure prevailing in the hills the soil is the Raja's, but the people have a permanent tenant right in any land brought under cultivation with his permission. In Kulu the British Government asserted its ownership of the waste. In the south-western Panjab, where the scattered hamlets had no real boundaries, ample waste was allotted to each estate, and the remainder was claimed as State property.

Kinds of Forest.— The lands in the Panjab over which authority, varying through many degrees from full ownership unburdened with rights of user down to a power of control exercised in the interests of the surrounding village communities, may be roughly divided into

(a) Mountain forests;
(b) Hill forests;
(c) Scrub and grass Jangal in the Plains

The first are forests of deodar, blue pine, fir, and oak in the Himalaya above the level of 5000 feet. The hill forests occupy the lower spurs, the Siwaliks in Hoshyarpur, etc., and the low dry hills of the north-west. A strong growth of chir pine (Pinus longifolia) is often found in the Himalaya between 3000 and 5000 feet. Below 3000 feet is scrub forest, the only really valuable product being bamboo. The hills in the north-western districts of the Panjab and N.W.F. Province, when nature is allowed to have its way, are covered with low scrub including in some parts a dwarf palm (Nannorhops Ritchieana), useful for mat making, and with a taller, but scantier growth of phuldhi (Acacia modest a) and wild olive. What remains of the scrub and grass jangal of the plains is to be found chiefly in the Bar tracts between the Sutlej and the Jhelam. Much of it has disappeared, or is about to disappear, with the advance of canal irrigation. Dry though the climate is the Bar was in good seasons a famous grazing area. The scrub consisted mainly of jand (Prosopis spicigera), jdl (Salvadora oleoides), the karil (Capparis aphylla) and the far ash (Tamarix articulata).

Management and Income of Forests.— The Forest Department of the Panjab has existed since 1864, when the first Conservator was appointed. In 1911-12 it managed 8359 square miles in the Panjab consisting of:

Reserved Forests 1844 square miles
Protected ,, 5203
Unclassed ,, 1312

It was also in charge of 235 square miles of reserved forest in the Hazara district of the N.W.F. Province, and of 364 miles of fine mountain forest in the native State of Bashahr. In addition a few reserved forests have been made over as grazing areas to the Military Department, and Deputy Commissioners are in charge of a very large area of unclassed forest. No forest can be declared "reserved" or "protected" unless it is owned in whole or in part by the State. It is enough if the trees or some of them are the property of the Government. In order to safeguard all private rights a special forest settlement must be made before a forest can be declared to be reserved." In the case of a protected forest it is enough if Government is satisfied that the rights of the State and of private persons have been recorded at a land revenue settlement. After deducting income belonging to the year 1909-10 realized in 1910-n, the average income of the two years ending 1911-12 was £81,805 (Rs. 1,227,082) and the average expenditure £50,954 (Rs. 764,309).

Sources of Income.— In the mountain forests the chief source of income is the deodar, which is valuable both for railway sleepers and as building timber. The blue pine is also of commercial value. Deodar, blue pine, and some chir are floated down the rivers to depots in the plains. Firwood is inferior to cedar and pine, and the great fir forests are too remote for profitable working at present. There are fine mountain forests in Chitral, on the Safed Koh, and in Western Wazi'ristan, but these have so far not even been fully explored. The value of the hill forests may be increased by the success which has attended the experimental extraction of turpentine from the resin of the chir pine. The bamboo forests of Kangra are profitable. At present an attempt is being made to acclimatize several species of Eucalyptus in the low hills. The scrub jangal in the plains yields good fuel. As the area is constantly shrinking it is fortunate that the railways have ceased to depend on this source of supply, coal having to a great extent taken the place of wood. To prevent shortage of fuel considerable areas in the tracts commanded by the new canals are being reserved for irrigated forests. A forest of this class covering an area of 37 square miles and irrigated from the Upper Bari Doab Canal has long existed at Changa Manga in the Lahore district.

Forests in Kashmir.— The extensive and valuable Kashmir forests are mountain and hill forests, the former, which cover much the larger area yielding, deodar, blue pine, and firs, and the latter chir pine. The total area exceeds 2600 square miles.