Brett M Bennett*

Conservation history: Isn’t that American?

Where and when did conservation history first originate? The field of conservation history supposedly began first in the United States as a reaction to the nascent American conservation movement in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. But problems exist within this primarily American-centric historiographical structure. Many Americans who advocated a patriotic paradigm of conservation history, with the unquestioned presupposition that the United States was its intellectual epicenter, failed to seriously consider the broader international conservation movement for the later part of the nineteenth century. By looking too narrowly at a few United States activists and writers, American conservation/environmental historians from the 1950’s to the 1980’s failed to acknowledge international conservation efforts. Now, scholarship places conservationism first as a British imperial creation, before it spread to British Australia, Africa, and Canada and the United States. These recent imperial histories have direct bearing on the true origins of conservation history.

The origins of conservation history were originally placed in the United States. Frederick Jackson Turner’s ‘frontier’ thesis unintentionally deterred global perspectives in the field conservation history.[1] This comes as no surprise because most conservation historians were American, and specifically, Western American historians. Turner’s leitmotif led many conservation historians to examine the edges the ‘frontier’ and ‘wilderness’ of civilization and its impact on the formation American society. Yet historians who disagreed with the Turner thesis did not look outside the United States either. They attempted to disprove the theory by using other American sources and narratives.[2] American conservation historians never discovered any international origins because they rarely wrote histories focused outside of the United States.

By the early 1990’s, environmental historians slowly acknowledged that international conservation efforts in British India, Germany, and France also constituted the blueprint for later American models.[3] Gregory Barton’s seminal history, Empire Forestry and the Origins of Environmentalism traced the beginning of America’s conservation movement to nineteenth century forestry efforts in colonial India.[4] The book followed forestry and conservation thought in British India from the early nineteenth century until it became the model for forestry departments around the world in Australia, Africa, Canada, and the United States. By 1936, British foresters using this Indian model managed 10% of the earth’s surface. This study shows how enlightenment ideals combined with romanticism in a British imperial context to create modern forestry legislation, organization, implementation, and (most importantly) justification. Barton’s book placed conservationism into its current international context.

Key figures in the history of the conservation movement in the United States—Franklin B. Hough, Charles Sprague Sargent, Bernard Fernow and Gifford Pinchot are now fit in the international framework that inspired them. These men helped set up and preserve forest reserves based upon scientific principles to protect the vast American forests from private development and massive deforestation. While independent social and economic factors encouraged conservation legislation in the United States, the ideas, rationale, legislative format, and institutional practice of conservation were openly borrowed wholesale from empire foresters teaching at European schools. American foresters learned the general model of forestry from abroad, and then applied it to the particular needs of North American forests.[5]

Clarifying the origins of conservationism also clarifies the origin of conservation history. If conservationism started in an international and imperial context, did conservation history also begin in this same imperial milieu? The answer is yes, conservation history occurred first in colonial British India. Early conservation histories developed first in British India for a simple reason: India was the first country with a full-fledged conservation movement, and the officials who ran the world’s first modern forestry department needed—indeed, depended upon—forest history to make informed empirical decisions and to construct historical narratives to justify the control of native forests.

The First Conservation Histories

Early forestry histories were essentially a history of the Indian conservation movement, its leaders, advocates, and its chronological development. The first systematic protective organization and sustained large-scale forestry legislation started in British India in 1864 and 1865, respectively, ten years before the Indian Forester’s first printing. By this time, India already had a tentative legislative pattern for forestry over twenty years old, along with established forestry officials and officerships seventy years old, and a large state-controlled reserve system. The head start foresters in India had on United States forestry programs helped to foster the first conservation histories in India before conservationists in the U.S. had a movement to write about. By the turn of the twentieth century, Berthod Ribbentrop’s book Forestry in British India clearly laid out the first cohesive conservation history. E.P. Stebbing continued on Ribbentrop’s book with his History of the Indian Forests in 1922.

In 1872 an India-wide forestry conference led by Baden Powell commissioned a ‘Forest Magazine’ publishing materials that were ‘generally interesting…not confining it…to technical forest matters.’[6] The magazine was named the Indian Forester, [7] and it was published first in 1875 in Calcutta, the center of trade and communications in Bengal and the capital of British India. For conservationists such as Powell to keep legal control of India’s forests, they needed the voice of the IF to advance historical and scientific claims in clear, simple prose. The history of early empire forestry projects within the pages of the IF made a didactic impression upon its readers and helped justify British control of native Indian lands. IF history articles portrayed forestry as a newly discovered social benefit bestowed upon India from benevolent British colonial elites. This historical representation of the conservation movement solidified the popularity of conservationism in urban India, Britain, and the other colonies around the British Empire.

In addition to the IF, Berthod Ribbentrop, the Inspector General of Forests in India from 1884-1889, wrote the first comprehensive conservation history, Forestry in British India in 1900.[8] His book outlined the early history of India’s forests, the infancy of conservation efforts in Bengal, and finally the successful implementation of large-scale forestry measures. Ribbentrop also wrote abundantly within the pages of the IF. E.P. Stebbing’s book, History of the Forests of India, written in 1922, expanded on Berthold Ribbentrop’s theme of the Indian forests.[9] Like Ribbentrop, Stebbing’s book presented an early forest history that traced the origins of conservation thought in India from the multiple Euro-Asian invasions in India until Dalhousie’s informal forest charter in 1855, and then followed current events and politics of the Indian conservation movement.

Bengal and India: Early Conservation Efforts

IF articles trace forest conservation efforts back to Bengal during the eighteenth century tracing the formation of teak reservations and botanical gardens. One IF article explained how Colonel Kyd first conceived of the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1786 as not only a garden but as a plantation where the British and East Indian Company Navies could easily access timber. The article illustrated the difficulty Colonel Kyd faced when he attempted to grow teak trees in the hot, humid Calcutta climate. The article argued that this early form of imperial forestry failed due to Colonel Kyd’s ignorance of proper forestry technique.[10]

Teak trees were valuable to the British Navy, which relied upon foreign lumber to build ships. America’s separation from the British Empire took away once easily accessible East-coast hardwood forests. Concurrent with Britain’s loss of American forests, the oak forests of Britain that had provided the Royal Navy wood for centuries continued to dwindle due to chronic over use. The wood shortages in mainland Britain, coupled with the America’s new economic independence, forced Britain to maximize lumber yields in the colonies.[11] This is one factor that drove early conservation attempts in India.

In 1799, a Bengal-Bombay joint commission sent an inquiry to find the amount of available teak in India’s forests. Ribbentrop wrote that, ‘The growing demand for teak timber was one of the matters which received early attention.’ [12] This early attention led to India’s first formal conservationism act. After the inquiry, which signaled possible shortages, the commission prohibited the cutting of teak trees with girths less than 21 inches in circumference to protect the smaller trees from over cutting. British elites in India enacted the first of many conservation laws with this ruling.

Six years later, in 1805, under pressure from the Napoleonic war, the directors of the East India Company commissioned a report to determine the amount of available teak in India to offset the acute shortage of trees in Britain. The new dispatch from the court of directors in England prompted Indian colonial leaders in Bengal and Bombay to enact more stringent forestry legislation. In response to the timber inquiry, the Bengal-Bombay commission created a forestry committee to investigate the possible yields and limits of the Indian forests. Ribbentrop wrote, ‘This enquiry resulted in the immediate appointment of a forest committee, charged with a comprehensive programme of enquiry regarding…the forests…[and] the status of proprietary rights in them.’[13]

The report cast a pall on the future economic strength and long-term production of the forests of India. These reports, ‘… showed that the capacity of the forests in mature timber had been over-rated, that the nearer forests had been almost cut out…’[14] Due to the alarming rate of forest loss, the enquiry appointed a forest officer to regulate, improve, and preserve the remaining tree species necessary for shipbuilding, and on November 10th, 1806, Dr. Watson was selected as the first Conservator of Forests in India.[15]

Watson received what Ribbentrop called, ‘…great power given to him under the proclamation of April 1807, which was to say the least, somewhat vague both as regards to scope and extent of interference contemplated…’[16] With these ‘great powers,’ Watson implemented laws restricting local access to forests, tightly regulating private timber businesses and companies, thus guaranteeing a plentiful, inexpensive supply of lumber to the British and East India Company Navies. During Watson’s tenure, the British government received a steady, cheap supply of lumber. Poor successors and lackadaisical government oversight allowed the position to decline in the 1820s. Timber merchants called for an end to the monopoly, and Sir Thomas Munro, governor of Madras, sided with these proprietors and ended the conservatorship. Laissez-faire principles now ruled again in India. Formal conservation polices were placed on hold until economic and scientific pressure prompted forestry regulations.

While the British in India prompted committees, and even logging laws, these positive measures were outnumbered by innumerous negative over cuts, burns and mismanagement of the forests. One history article in the IF article lamented, ‘The watchword of the day was to increase the rate of cultivation at the cost of still existing forests… Naturally, incalculable harm was done by such inconsiderate destruction of forests…’[17] Often, the IF criticized the history of former British policy makers and their pyrrhic conservation measures. These histories lamented that the early efforts simply could not control large tracts of land effectively. Over-grazing, heavy logging, manmade and natural fire destruction across India all took a devastating toll on the forests. The introduction of railways continued the deforestation at an accelerated pace. ‘Railways soon spread over the country, and forest growth disappeared with an incredibly rapidity…partly on account of the direct demands which were frequently supplied in a wasteful and reckless manner…’[18]

Ribbentrop cited Nathaniel Wallich, the Director of Calcutta Botanical Garden in Bengal, as an early forest activist who understood the economic value of Indian forests, and labored to protect them using a systematic method. Wallich warned that the forests in India were limited resources that needed protection with general laws banning cuts in conjunction with vigorous replanting, fire-protection, and removal of ‘inferior’ tree species schemes. Ribbentrop quotes Wallich,

Unless the principal be acted upon from the very outset…I will venture to predict that private enterprise will very soon render fruitless all endeavors to perpetuate the supplies for the public services, and one of the principal and most certain sources of revenue of this Province will thus be irrevocably lost.[19]

However, his plans to protect teak forests failed to protect India’s forests. Instead of limiting tree cuts, his plan involved cutting down all full-size teak trees. He proposed his plan, ‘in order to speedily realize a large consignment of valuable timber and to afford room for supplying fresh additions to the number of trees in the forest.’[20] This policy allowed speculators to plunder vast reserves and pay minimal duties to harvest as many trees as they could fell. Wallich’s plan failed to alleviate industrial needs and local pressures on the forests. In 1823, the conservatorship was repealed due to ineffectiveness.

The IF, along with the historical works of Ribbentrop and Stebbing described the then nascent conservation movement as an economic reaction to the continual felling of forests. But after delineating these initial forestry efforts, these authors proceeded to portray the influence of new scientific theories on the next stage in forestry conservationism—large-scale forestry projects overseen by scientists who were specialized in forestry methods and nineteenth century climate theories. India provided the testing ground for new silvicultural methods, empirical models of nature, and replanting schemes. Many Indian histories focused on the individuals who pioneered scientific forestry methods in India. These individuals generated the intellectual framework for the Indian model of conservationism that later spread around the world.

Ribbentrop credited three men for helping develop scientific forestry: Bishop Herber, Ronald Martin, and Dr. Helfer. Bishop Herber in 1824 pointed to the process of aridification that followed deforestation in the Siwalik foothills. His ideas were just one of the many climate theories in India in the nineteenth century. In 1836 Surgeon Ronald Martin in Calcutta wrote a report that cited the need for cleaner water in Calcutta. One year later, Dr. Helfer, proposed the creation of plantations because he, ‘…found a great absence of young growth..,’ in the forests of India.[21] These three men provided the three needed ingredients for conservationism. Herber provided empirical evidence that humans damaged the forests, Helfer proposed a scientifically sound method to replant the forests, and Martin propagated the need for civic duty to take proper care of nature.

The dissemination of these scientific ideas throughout India prompted formal conservation efforts to start again in 1842 under the guidance of scientists. The Madras Board of Revenue reattempted forestry efforts in the form of plantations, and they selected a revenue officer from Madras to implement new plantation measures based upon scientific principles. They picked the Collector of Malabar, Lieutenant Conolly, to head the new Nilambur teak plantation.[22]

In addition to Conolly as the managerial leader, the former conservator of the Calcutta Gardens, Dr. Gibson was chosen as the scientific director of Nilambur. The IF believed this represented a watershed mark for conservationism. For the first time in India, a specially trained scientist managed a forestry scheme. Botanists such as Gibson played a critical role in bringing modern science into forestry management. As one IF article pointed out, ‘No doubt many of the pioneers of Indian forestry were botanists…’[23] These botanists helped change the early conservation movement from an economically driven to a scientifically driven leadership.
The Forestry Charter and the Forest Service of India

‘The dawn of forestry in India,’ occurred in 1852, Ribbentrop wrote, when ‘the Province of Pegu was annexed.’[24] Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India, annexed the Province of Pegu[25] and forestry gained the legal precedence of ‘absolute property.’ The Timber forests of Rangoon in southern Pegu had been under the royal authority of the Alompra dynasty before British rule. Dalhousie, when he annexed Pegu, brought the forests of the region under British control. With this act the British also enacted effective forestry legislation. After the annexation of the Rangoon forests, the rest of the Pegu forests were annexed with the same legal justification. Dalhousie’s authoritarian-based forest policy stated, ‘all the forests are the property of Government, and no general permission to cut timber therein will be granted to anyone.’[26]

To protect the forests from misuse, the Indian government appointed Dr. John McClelland as the superintendent of government property and assigned him to, ‘mark the trees which may be bought and felled.’[27] As McClelland began to study the composition of forests he realized the diverse forest composition needed for teak trees. He estimated that teaks did not grow in large monoforests but were, ‘confined to certain localities of small extent where it constitutes the prevailing tree for a few hundred yards, seldom for a mile continuously.’[28] McClelland began to believe in the necessity of scientific management for the forests of India in order to protect the forest diversity necessary for growing teak trees.

He also noted how the British Indian Government lost money with the current forestry markets. Unscrupulous loggers cut teak trees for merchants in Rangoon, often with detrimental effects. McCelland believed the destruction came from the fact that, ‘In Pegu there is no such class of forester or professional woodcutters, that is, persons who have been accustomed employment or be in any way injurious affected by any alterations in the forest laws or rules.’[29] Because there was no professional class of foresters in Pegu, the loggers did not differentiate between saplings and old growth trees, and they felled trees without abandon. McCelland sent a letter to Dalhousie proposing to protect the forests by setting up vast forest reserves controlled by the government. Stebbing cites him as arguing, ‘If we fail in the comparatively simple duty of preserving the old forests, we can scarcely hope to succeed in the most difficult task of creating new ones.’[30]

Both Ribbentrop and Stebbing give McClelland’s letter credit for setting the last stage of conservation in motion: the development of the Indian Forestry Charter and the Forest Service of India. Ribbentrop wrote, ‘This report evoked a memorable reply by the Government of India, dated 3rd August 1855, in which Lord Dalhousie laid down, for the first time, the outline of a permanent policy for forest administration.’[31] Stebbing believed Dalhousie’s informal policy for forest administration, which outlined a permanent forest charter, later provided the foundation for the conservation movement around the world.[32]

The letter inspired Dalhousie’s interest in forestry, and he soon looked to Germany to find scientists to control the vast India forests effectively. One IF article discussed how Dalhousie went to ‘the University of Bonn, and there found the man [he] …wanted in its Professor of Botany…Sir Dietrich Brandis, Ph.D.’[33] Dietrich was appointed on January 1856 as the Superintendent of Forests in Pegu. Ribbentrop believed that, ‘With this appointment, the dawn of scientific forestry in India began.’[34]

Brandis became India’s first Inspector General of the Forests in 1864. Ribbentrop wrote that Brandis,

… Introduced from the outset principles of enumeration and organization of the working of the forests, which still form the basis of our working plans, as well as the system of native contractors…In fact he created a practical system for the working of the forests under his charge. He also introduced measures for the protection and improvement of the forests, and correctly foresaw that if the people of the country could ever be brought to plant Teak in their shifting cultivation, this would be likely to become the most efficient mode of artificially reproducing the tree.[35]

The same year, Lord Dalhousie appointed Dr Hugh Cleghorn as chief forest conservator of Madras. Dr. Cleghorn developed his original forest ideas, ‘…when marching about the sepoy regiment, [I] had seen…the waste caused by the Roomri cultivation under which the peasants burned down the whole forest tracts to form fertile soil for their crops.’[36] He persuaded governmental authorities in southern India to adopt his plans, and was then placed to work in the Madras forests. Cleghorn established a systematic conservancy organization in Mysore and Madras that later became the model for the Forest Service of India. In one IF article Brandis wrote that, ‘His long services from the first organization of forest management in Madras…and in the Punjab…prepared the way for the establishment of an efficient system of conservancy and working forests of the provinces.’[37]

Between 1852, and 1864 conservancy crystallized into its modern form. In 1864, Dietrich Brandi was appointed the first General Conservator of India, head of the Forest Service of India. The IF, Stebbing, and Ribbentrop credited Dalhousie, Brandis, and Cleghorn during this period, as the founders of the full-fledged conservation movement in India. These men labored to protect the diversity and quality of the Indian forests from over-felling and forest fires. From 1864 on, the groundwork for the conservation movement had been laid, and it continued to grow incrementally. Indian conservation histories note a few key dates in its development.

In 1864, the Indian Government created the Forest Service of India to monitor and protect the forests. The forest service provided forest protection officers to the various provinces of India. IF articles described the Forest Service of India as an organization that, ‘…surveyed forest resources…to supply to the natives timber, firewood, bamboos, canes and other produces, and to the State such articles of foreign demand as teak, sandalwood, and rubber…’ The forest service expanded its reservations yearly, and by 1891 India had approximately 60,000 square miles marked and reserved. One IF predicted, ‘Every year this is being increased at an average rate of 2,000 square miles…[eventually] yielding a revenue of considerably more than a million sterling a year.’ [38] The creation of the forest service marked one of the most important points in Indian conservation history. By 1864, scientific foresters in India were able to manage the forest, and protect the valuable trees from degradation. This organization oversaw and implemented silvicultural, fire protection, and replanting systems throughout the rest of the nineteenth century.

After the forest service started to manage the forests of India, legislation became necessary to define the rights of natives. Ten years after Dalhousie’s informal forest policy, the Indian Forest Act was passed in 1865 to create the legal framework necessary for the forest service to operate. This bill was continually promogulated by local rules in Burma, the Central Provinces and Rawalpindi in 1865, and Bengal, Coorg, Oudh, Berar and the North-Western Provinces between 1866-1869. However, this act did not give enough legal scope for British Burma within act VII of 1865, and a new act XIII of 1873, The Burma Timber Act, was instated. Act XIII also had many flaws and eventually had to be repealed due to ineffectiveness. This law drew criticism because it,

… drew no distinction between the forests which required to be closely reserved…and those which merely needed general control…It also provided no procedure for enquiring into and settling the rights which it so vaguely saved…On control over private forests…it was absolutely silent…Protection for government forests, so interlaced with private ones as to be in chronic danger of plunder, there was none.[39]

In 1878, the Indian Forest Act VII was enacted, and it encompassed all the provinces of British India, except Burma, Madras, and the Hazara District in Ajmer, Berar, Baluchinstan, Coorg, and Punjab. The IF noted, ‘Even [with] this new Act, however, faults were and once recognized and separate bills were passed for Burma and Madras in 1881 and 1882 respectably.’[40] The same article described how the laws, ‘…provide for the formation of Government reserves and the settlement rights within them; also for the constitution of villager forests; and they contain forest police rules necessary for the protection of Government forests and forest-produce.’[41]

These three acts allowed for the expansion of formal conservation efforts in India. Ribbentrop wrote, ‘In 1889-90 there were 56,000 square miles of Reserves and nearly 30,000 square miles of Protected forests.’[42] Each of these two types of forests, Protected, and Reserve forests were under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service who managed, demarcated, and policed the forests. By 1878, India had clearly delineated forest laws, precedents, and the oversight of the forest service to uphold these laws. Indian forestry laws allowed conservationism to flourish in colonial India and by the 1900s, 8 percent of the land in India was under the protected of the forest department. British Indian conservation histories traced each of these steps from Bengal to larger India.

Conservation History: from Colonial India to America

The spread of conservation ideals from imperial to democratic governments in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century forced conservation history, which began in India, to gradually move away from the subcontinent to its modern home in America. The men who wrote the first American conservation histories, Bernard Fernow and especially Gifford Pinchot, patterned their conservationist beliefs from British India foresters, and British Indian techniques and histories influenced the creation of America’s conservation movement as well as conservation history.[43] These two men provided the bridge between Indian conservation history and American conservation history.

Gifford Pinchot, the man considered to be the mastermind behind America’s national forest system, gleaned his forestry knowledge from Indian foresters with Indian forestry literature in England, France, and Germany. At Cooper’s Hill in England, the first and premier English forestry school, Pinchot met with Wilhelm Schlich, the onetime Inspector General of Forests in British India, who gave him his famous Manuel of Forestry. After leaving England in 1889, Pinchot enrolled at L’Ecole Nationale Forestière, the elite French forestry school in Nancy. Nancy forestry teachers trained, and were in many cases experienced, British Indian foresters. When he left school at Nancy, Pinchot met with Dietrich Brandis and a group of English forestry students and traveled throughout Europe studying various methods of forestry on the continent. Brandis and Schlich’s Indian experiences and histories profoundly influenced Pinchot’s forestry beliefs. Pinchot never forgot his experiences, especially Brandis’s help. He wrote, ‘[I] owe [Brandis] more than I can ever tell…After I came home I sent him news and many questions about what he was doing and about what needed to be done in America…’[44] It was his mentor Brandis whom, ‘had made forestry to be where there was none before,’ that could provide the intellectual, scientific, and historical blueprint for American conservation.[45] During his trip he continually immersed himself in British Indian forestry literature and upon his return, he published an article ‘Forestry Abroad and Home’ that discussed Indian conservationism, and the paper described historical accounts of forestry in India as well as Europe.[46]

Bernard Fernow, the German born North American émigré, also brought with him German forestry knowledge, much of which was honed from Germans who went to British India. As the third chief of the U.S. Bureau of Forestry from 1886 to 1898, and the founder and head of Cornell’s forestry school in 1898, he had a strong hand in shaping both American conservation history and the conservation movement. He personally knew both Brandis and Schlich, using Schlich’s fifth volume of Manual of Forestry, the standard American forestry text at the turn of the century, as a textbook at Cornell. Fernow’s conservation history book, A Brief Primer on Forestry, paid attention to forestry around the world, including India.[47] In another of his books, Economics of Forestry, which featured an extensive history of forestry around the world, he recommended reading Ribbentrop’s book Forestry in British India as a history of Indian forestry when Ribbentrop’s book was the only forest history book in the world, showing the continual progression of conservation history.[48] In addition to writing a number of forestry books, Fernow also created and edited the Forestry Quarterly and its printed successor, the Journal of Forestry. The Journal of Forestry became one of the most influential mouthpieces for conservation history and environmental history in the mid and late twentieth century.

Fernow and Pinchot’s aforementioned works, in addition to Pinchot’s Breaking New Ground, constituted the earliest conservation and forest histories in America. These histories were patterned off the writings of British Indian conservationists such as Ribbentrop, and IF articles. They are the continuation of Indian conservation history. As the American conservation movement grew in popularity after the turn of the century, Fernow and Pinchot’s histories became antiquated secondary sources and they were used more frequently as original sources.


British Indian conservation histories covered the growth of forestry from Bengal to larger colonial India in a period a little over one hundred years. IF articles, Ribbentrop and Stebbing’s histories helped disseminate the conservation movement to other British colonies, the United States, and much of the world. Early conservation historians wrote through ‘Victorian lenses’—they saw the world with the rational enthusiasm of the enlightenment and they felt the evangelical need to proselytize these beliefs through forestry. While the moral beliefs of the first conservation historians differ wildly from that of modern academics, these writers still produced the seminal works of conservation history.

Conservationism and its ancillary conservation history were not always ends themselves—they often justified imperial expansion. As scientific knowledge accrued in India at forestry schools such as Dehra Dun and botanical gardens in Calcutta, the continual push for knowledge forced British scientists to continually gather more empirical evidence about the forests, climate, and history of India. The build up of this empirical knowledge eventually led imperial foresters to believe in the progress of their scientific forestry methods. Modern environmentalists are not the first to believe they could ‘save’ the world. British conservators and historians inculcated this belief in their students and British public through conservation history. American foresters like Gifford Pinchot further propagated this idea until modern environmentalism took the lead.

The first conservation histories were published in Calcutta in the nineteenth century. Americans inherited both the legislative pattern and rational for the conservation movement and conservation history from Bengal and greater colonial India. The examination of these histories should correct American-centric historiography. As scholars become cognizant of where conservationism first evolved, and the role that early conservation history played in the global spread of forestry ideas, rationale, and legislation, they will be enabled for the first time to place conservation history in its proper international perspective. In a global age that requires broad and comparative interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past, the international context of conservationism and conservation history is long overdue.

* 1375 Aspen Court, Richmond, Indiana, 47374, USA

[1] Frederick Jackson Turner, ‘The Significance of the frontier in American History,’ Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1893, Washington, D.C., 1894.

[2] See Martin Ridge, ‘The Life of an Idea: The Significance of Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis,’ Montana: The Magazine of Western History, 41, Winter 1991, pp. 2-13; Martin Ridge, ‘Turner the Historian: A Long Shadow,’ Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 13, No. 2, Summer, 1993, pp. 133-144; William Cronon, ‘Revisiting the Vanishing Frontier: The Legacy of Frederick Jackson Turner,’ The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 1987, pp. 157-176.

[3] Ben T. Twight, ‘Bernard Fernow and Prussian Forestry in America,’ Journal of Forestry, February, 1990.

[4] Gregory A. Barton, Empire Forestry and the Origins of Environmentalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, Gre.

[5] Gregory A. Barton, ‘Empire Forestry and American Environmentalism,’ Environment and History, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2000, pp. 187-203.

[6] B.H Baden Powell and J.C Macdonell, Report of the Proceedings of a Conference of Forest Officers Held at Lahore, January 2 and 3, 1872, Lahore, 1872, pp. 84-85.

[7] An abbreviated IF will be used instead of Indian Forester for the duration of this paper.

[8] Berthold Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, Calcutta, 1900.

[9] Edward Stebbing, The Forests of India, 4 Vols. Reprint, New Delhi, 1984.

[10] ‘The Beginnings of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Calcutta,’ Indian Forester 11 (March 1894), pp. 481-482

[11] G. Albion, Forests and Sea Power: the Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1652- 1862 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926).

[12] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 10.

[13] Ibid, p. 10.

[14] Ibid., pp. 63, 69.

[15] Ibid., p. 69.

[16] Ibid., p. 69.

[17] ‘Forest Conservancy in India,’ Indian Forester 19 (May, 1893), pp. 259-264

[18] Ibid., p. 261.

[19] Ribbentrop, The Forests of India, p. 72.

[20] Ibid., p. 72.

[21] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, pp. 11-73.

[22] Ibid., p. 71.

[23] ‘Botany and the Indian Forest Department,’ The Indian Forester (1899), pp. 485- 488

[24] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 73.

[25] Burma, now named Myanmar.

[26] Stebbing, Forests of India, Vol. 1, p. 244.

[27] Ibid., p. 244.

[28] Ibid., p. 247.

[29] Ibid., p. 269.

[30] Ibid., p. 251.

[31] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 74.

[32] Stebbing, Forests of India, Vol. 1, p. 257.

[33] ‘The Indian Forest Service and its Founders,’ Indian Forester 19 (1893), pp. 73-77

[34] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 74.

[35] Ibid., p. 74.

[36] ‘The Indian Forest Service and its Founders,’ Indian Forester 19 (1893), pp. 73-77.

[37] Dietrich Brandis, ‘Pioneers of Indian Forestry; Dr. Hugh Cleghorn’s Service to Indian Forestry,’ Indian Forester 31 (1905), pp. 227-234.

[38] Ibid., p. 75.

[39] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 98.

[40] ‘Forest Conservancy in India,’ Indian Forester 22 (1896), pp. 262-265.

[41] Ibid., p. 262.

[42] Ribbentrop, Forestry in British India, p. 99.

[43] For a more thorough account of Indian influence on United States forestry, see Gregory Barton, Empire Forestry and the Origins of Environmentalism, pp. 130-143, and, ‘Empire Forestry and American Environmentalism,’ Environment and History, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2000), pp. 187-203.

[44] Gifford Pinchot, Breaking New Ground, (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1947), p. 17.

[45] Ibid., p. 7.

[46] Gifford Pinchot, ‘Government Forestry Abroad,’ Publications of the American Economic Association,, Vol. 6(3), May 1891, pp. 7-54.

[47] Bernard Fernow, A Brief Primer on Forestry, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1911).

[48] Bernard Fernow, Economics of Forestry, (New York: T.Y. Crowell & Co., 1904), p. 279.

No comments: