The 1878 forest act divided forest in India into three categories
- Reserved Forest– which are completely government controlled
- Protected ?Forest–which are partly government controlled
- Village forests/ Communal Forest– control by abutting villages.
Forest act sought to consolidate and reserve the areas having forest cover or significant wildlife, to regulate movement and transit of forest produce and duty leviable on Timber and the other forest produce.
But the Forest act affected the lives of foresters and villagers by following reasons.
- Villagers Wanted forest with different varieties of trees and plants to satisfy the needs of their daily fuel , fodder and leaves. Because of this forest act they could not take anything from reserved forest. For house building or fuel the could only take wood from protected or village forest.
- Forest Department encourage to plant only teak and Sal trees as the department needed to this that could provide hard, tall and straight wood for commercial use.
- Earlier The villagers were dependent on forest product like edible and medicinal roots, leaves, fruits, tubers etc. Many things are available for villagers from the forest for their livelihood.
- Because of forest act cutting woods for their houses, grazing their cattles, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal. This has cost severe hardship for them
- Because of forest act villagers left with no choice but to steal wood and if they were caught , they were at the mercy of forest guards, who even takes bribe from them.
- Forest guards many times harasses villagers specially women to collect fuel wood from forest. They demand free food from the villagers.
So this is the reason why forest act bought severe hardship for villagers across the country.