Human dependence on forest witnessed a change with the introduction of tools, initially of stones but soon also made of wood, one of the most versatile raw materials known to humanity. Unfortunately, timber rarely survives in the archaeological records and we are left mostly with stone tools as evidence. Introduction of flakes, choppers, and later on axes influenced the human-forest interaction.
They were multipurpose artifacts, used for grubbing up roots, working wood, scraping skins, and especially skinning and butchering large and small game. By analysing the geographical location of the sites of tool industry scholars have suggested that the hand axe was in fact a form of primitive discuss used primarily for hunting purposes.
Forest also provided shelter to the humans. Traditionally it was trees that provided shelter though with the growth of terrestrial adaptation rock shelters became an alternative. Even today we have evidences for this kind of existence. Varied ecological niches in these ecosystems are exploited today by traditional ethnic groups (tribes/adivasis) whose economies are geared to hunting and gathering, riverine fishing, marine fishing and shifting cultivation.
Typical examples are those known as Van Vagri (Thar), Birhor (Chotanagpur), Chenchu, Yanadi, Konda, Reddi, Koya, Voda Baliji (Eastern Ghats), Kadars (Kerala), Baiga, Gond, Muria, (Madhya Pradesh), Kandh, Savara, Gadaba, Juang (Orissa), and Walri and Koli (Maharashtra).
All these ethnic groups pursue their traditional modes of food procurement notwithstanding the fact that they are now integrated into village economies. Since big game is now both scarce and its hunting is prohibited, they hunt small game and birds, and collect insects and honey and wild plant foods.
The fact that Stone Age occupations occur within the tribal habitats indicates that the game and other forest foods now exploited must have formed the subsistence base on a much larger scale.