Hugh Cleghorn and Forest Conservation in India

  • Pallavi V. Das


A public resolution by the Government of India of January 10, 1865, noted:

The Governor General in Council avails himself of this opportunity to express his sense of the great service rendered to the State by Dr. Cleghorn in the cause of forest conservancy…. His long services, from the first organisation of Forest management in Madras, have, without question greatly conduced to the public good in this branch of the administration. In the Punjab also … Dr. Cleghorn’s labours have prepared the way for the establishment of an efficient system of conservancy and working of the forests of that Province.1

The excerpt summarizes the important role played by Dr. Hugh Cleghorn in initiating forest conservancy in the Madras Presidency and in the Punjab. This adoption of forest conservation was one of the responses of the colonial state to the denudation crisis that developed in colonial India in the second half of the nineteenth century. One of the most important reasons for the denudation crisis was the rapid railway establishment and expansion promoted by the colonial state.


Public Work Forest Conservation Resource Extraction Forest Department Colonial State 
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© Pallavi V. Das 2015

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