RIBBENTROP, Berthold.

Hints on Arboriculture in the Panjab;

intended for the Use of the District and Forest Officers; by … Deputy Conservator of Forests in Charge of Plantation Division.

Lahore: Printed at the Central Jail Press, 1873 Stock Code: 136333
£1,950.00

Influential German arboriculturist and a model for Kipling

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Notes

First edition of this uncommon work, inscribed "With best regards Berthold Ribbentrop". The author, an influential German forestry expert, was instrumental in the establishment of the forestry administration, initially out of military and economic considerations, but which over time came to have considerable ecological and environmental impact. Ribbentrop was Kipling's model for Muller, "'head of the Woods and Forests of all India' and a man of great perception", in the origin story of Mowgli, "In the Rukh". With the recipient's inscription; "A.B. Phelan, Assistant Engineer presented by the author, August 1873".

In the early years of the 19th century Britain had no coherent forestry policy in India: "it was widely believed that forest resources in Asia were inexhaustible. The East India Company, and later the British government, had therefore adopted a laissez-faire attitude... to gain access to the valuable teak trees European export businesses destroyed large parts of Indian and Burmese forests. The annexation of the Tenasserim provinces in the First Burmese War from 1824 to 1826 was followed by an almost complete destruction of the teak forests by private companies. Such deforestation had disastrous ecological and social consequences" (Kirchberger, p. 2). Ribbentrop was one of a group of German forestry experts who were brought into service in the middle of the century with the foundation of a forestry administration implementing state control of the resource, "mainly out of military and economic considerations", but which over time was to have considerable ecological and wider environmental impacts.

Ribbentrop was a protégé of Dietrich Brandis, who was first installed by Dalhousie as Superintendent of the Pegu teak forests in 1856; subsequently placed in charge of all Burmese forests from 1857 to 1862, with the task of stopping the uninhibited exploitation which had taken place after the annexation; in 1864 he was promoted to become the first Inspector-General of Forests to the Government of India. "During his years in office he organized the forest administration in India and introduced an educational system for candidates of the Indian Forest Service in Britain and India" (p.3). Ribbentrop joined the service in 1867 as Special Assistant Conservator of Forests in the Punjab, in 1876 he became Conservator of Forests in Burma, and in 1889 Inspector-General of Forests in India, awarded CIE in 1890, and on retirement in 1900 published the first comprehensive study of the subject, Forestry in India.

The present work was published "for the use of untrained Forest Officers", covering the general rules of artificial cultivation, natural reproduction, and the treatment of forests and single trees, together with a section on how these rules might be applied to the trees most commonly cultivated in the Punjab. The recipient of this copy, A. B. Phelan, was employed as an engineer in the Irrigation Branch of the Public Works Department of the Punjab, and has made a number of informed pencilled corrections and comments to the text throughout.

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Description

Octavo. Original green wavy-grain cloth, letterpress paper label to the front board.

Illustrations

Illustrated throughout, 39 small lithographs pasted into the text.

Condition

A little rubbed and soiled, spine darkened, label a touch chipped and scuffed, front joint and front hinge neatly repaired, light tape residue marks to the pastedowns, occasional paste-action browning from the mounted illustrations, text-block mildly toned overall, very good.

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