The forests referred to as “Dandakaranya” in the Ramayana spread over a great extent of Andhra Pradesh. The forests of this State fall under two regions, viz., Andhra region, which was part of the composite Madras State, and Telengana region, which was part of the former Hyderabad State. These two regions have histories of their own.
The forests of the Andhra region came under separate management in 1953, the history of the forests of this region is covered by the history given under ‘Madras’. Forest conservancy was first establishment in 1856 by the efforts of Cleghorn and by the end of 1870 several forest blocks ere demarcated. The Madras Forest Act V of 1883. During the period 1920-1950, there was increased activity in regard to the raising of plantations, particularly Casuarinas, in the coastal areas. During 1940-1950, ex-zamin forests were taken over by the State Forest Department. During the second Plan period, apart from increased plantation activity and rehabilitation of degraded forests, special attention was paid to tribal welfare. The tribals gather minor forest them at fair prices.
The forests of Telengana region came under the management of Andhra Pradesh Forest Department on the 1st November 1956. As part of the princely State of Hyderabad, they were under the control of non-technical officials for a considerable time, in fact, for 44 years from 1857, when Sir Salar Jung II created the State Forest areas; and, with this dual control, there was no effective prevention of clearance and burning of extensive forest lands for bringing them under the plough. During this period a list was drawn up of species declared as ‘Reserved’. In 1890, the State Forest Policy was laid down, and it envisaged preservation and improvement of the existing forests. In 1900, the first Forest Act was passed for reserving forests in Aliabad District. In the year 1914, the Forest Act of 1900 was amended to make it more effective. During that year the services of F.A. Lodge, a retired Conservator of Forests from Madras Presidency, were secured. He prepared a Forest Code in 1921. He reorganized the Department into Divisions under two circles. A Forest School was established at Nizamabad for training the subordinate staff. Lodge also outlined the reservation of important forest tracts and their systematic exploitation. After Lodge, the Department again lapsed to the control of non-technical officials for another 17 years. The first Working Plan was prepared in 1938 for Nirmal Division. From 1938 to 1950 two full-time Working Plans Circles was created in 1946. In 1949 the forests of Jagirs, Paighas and Sarfekhas were merged with the State Forests. During World War II, most of the forests were overworked in order to cope up with the increased demands of the War period for forest produce.
From 1956 the two regions have been integrated to form the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Forest Department of the new State has on hand a full-scale programme of forest development and rehabilitation