Forestry is the science of the development and care of forests; the management of growing timber.

Forestry or forest management is considered as both independent scientific branch and practical field, containing many aspects of forestry, which formulates synthetic conclusions indicating the main directions of management. It is engaged in formation of relation between nature and the man on the basis of knowledge of forest state, demand society for forest functions as well as scientific achievements and experience in solving the problems of running and organic structure of forest.

Issues like global warming, deforestation, global climatic change, water scarcity, natural disasters, etc, are all related to the effective and controlled use of forest wealth. With 175 million hectares constituting wasteland and another 110 million hectare forming severely degraded land in India, the need of the hour is to rejuvenate it through forestry-related programs. The profession of forestry has experienced rapid and perceptible changes in the last years. What used to be considered as a business and a responsibility of the local villagers has turned into a field of global concern where the preservation and conservation of biodiversity play a main role.

"The study of nature has no beginning and it has no end," Jim Corbett had said in Jungle Lore. And the forests of our country provide an opportunity to spend a lifetime in admiring nature and make a living at the same time. In the remote areas of India, where a sizable proportion of the population depends on forests, directly or indirectly for the raw materials, employment and other daily needs, forestry is the main source of employment. In these areas appropriate steps are undertaken towards energy conservation, proper utilization of wastelands and goods and services are also produced.

Nature of Work

Forester takes care of forest resources by protecting them from fire, pests, disease, encroachment and indiscriminate felling of trees . Their tasks typically involve:

  • They advise clients on good forestry practices
  • They advising woodland owners on planting design and species choice, budgeting, public access, ecological surveys, and forest certification;
  • They are entrusted with the task of organizing the growing, harvesting, marketing and sale of timber;
  • Annual work programs are planned and implemented by them and they ensure the effective use of resources to meet the current objectives of the forest area;
  • They supervising forest workers and contractors in the field
  • They help in wasteland development
  • They contact the customers, landowners, timber merchants, the public and local authorities
  • Liaising with and working on many projects with other professionals, such as landscape architects, biologists, surveyors and engineers, and charitable bodies
  • They have to attend meetings of professional bodies
  • Keeping up to date with legal changes and other developments;
  • Budgets are planned and controlled by them and they prepare costing and financial forecasts

Forest managers/foresters are also involved in forest protection, which is a wide-ranging part of the role reflecting the government's desire to promote sustainable forest management. This includes:

  • Conducting research in areas such tree improvement and entomology;
  • Monitoring existing forestry practices;
  • Protecting forests from illegal felling, pests and diseases;
  • Ensuring that the presence of forests does not affect the surrounding environment and wildlife by damaging wildlife habitats, water supplies or soil.
  • They help in promoting eco tourism

Career Options

They can work as a

Forester: The forester is responsible for protecting and regenerating forests, protecting wildlife habitats, checking for and fighting wild fires, landscape management and so on.

Dendrologists: Their work involves research on the history, life span, measuring, grading, classifying the varieties of trees, and studying ways and means of tree improvement through aforestation etc.

Ethnologists: An ethnologist studies and analyses the evolution, behavior, biological functions etc. of an organism in its natural environment. Ethnologists design healthy habitats for animals in zoos, aquariums, and laboratories and also study animal behavior.

Entomologists: Entomologists specialize in the study and control of diseases caused by insects and pests.

Silviculturists: Silviculture is an aspect of Forestry that refers to the growth of plantations that yield periodic harvests.

Forest Range Officers: Forest range officers take care of public forests, sanctuaries, botanical gardens etc. They have conservators, loggers and other junior personnel working with them.

Zoo curators: They are responsible for animal welfare in the zoos and also undertake conservation programs. Zoo curator plays a role in the administration of zoo functions and captive breeding programs.

Other than career options mentioned above forestry specialists from India are finding jobs abroad as wildlife consultants for esteemed organizations. The most important of these being the World Wildlife Fund(WWF). Many organizations are hiring Indian personnel for working in countries like Kampuchea, Vietnam, South Africa, and other such countries.


Following are the personal attributes required to be a forester

  • Liking for outdoors,
  • Spirit of adventure, good health,
  • Stamina and physical fitness,
  • Patience, scientific temperament,
  • Organizing ability,
  • Public relations skills,
  • Practicality, courage,
  • Decision-making ability,
  • Capacity to work long hours,
  • A genuine interest in the preservation of the natural environment and habitat,
  • Inclination for research and academic bent of mind,
  • Curiosity and excellent skills of observation,
  • Interest in agriculture and geography.

Professional Courses

Those with Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the intermediate level can go for B.Sc Forestry course. Further the master's level offers specialization in subjects like Forest Management, Commercial Forestry, Forest Economics, Wood Science & Technology, Wildlife Science, Veterinary Science etc.

PGDFM is a field-based course, which combines managerial qualities concordant with the demands made by the forestry sector.

Courses in Forestry and Forest Services are:

  • B.Sc Forestry
  • M.Sc Forestry
  • B.Sc Wildlife
  • M.Sc Wildlife
  • M.Sc Wood Science & Tech.

Colleges, Institutions and Universities

There are many institutions all over India conducting courses on forestry and wildlife, few are:

  • Birsa Agricultural University, Kanke , Ranchi - 6.
  • Forestry Research Institute, Dehra Dun - 248 006.
  • Indian Institute of Forest Management, Nehru Nagar, Bhopal.
  • Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneshwar - 751 003.
  • Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehra Dun (affiliated to Saurashtra University, Rajkot)
  • College of Horticulture And Forestry, Solan 173230
  • College Of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, P O Krishinagar, Akola 444104
  • Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli 415712
  • College Of Agricultural Engineering, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana 141004
  • College Of Agriculture, Patnagar 263145
  • University Of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore, Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra, Bangalore 560065
  • College Of Agriculture And Regional Research Station, Dharwad 580005
  • Jawharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Krishi Nagar, Agartala, Jabalpur 482004
  • Orissa University Of Agriculture & Technology, Faculty Of Agriculture, Bhubaneswar, Khurda 751003


Various courses in forestry are available, at the graduate, postgraduate and diploma level, as well as at the Ph.D. level.

Those with Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the intermediate level can go for B.Sc Forestry course, which is a 3-year degree course. Further the master's level (2 years) offers specialization in subjects like Forest Management, Commercial Forestry, Forest Economics, Wood Science & Technology, Wildlife Science, Veterinary Science etc. The Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Nehru Nagar, Bhopal offers a study program in Forest Management. There are also opportunities for doing Ph.D in Forestry at the recognized centers. Those with Bachelors degree in related subjects can appear for Indian Forest Service exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission.


One can specialize in subjects like:

  • Agriculture economics
  • Agriculture statistics
  • Agro forestry
  • Forest products
  • Microbiology
  • Silviculture
  • Soil sciences
  • Waste management and tree improvement and genetic resources

Career Prospects

Foresters can work in offices, laboratories or outdoors depending on their field of specialization. Employment opportunities exist with

  • Governmental, non-governmental organizations interested in preservation of forest resources
  • Corporate having own plantations for timbering
  • Industries that utilize forest resources employ industrial and agricultural consultants
  • Indian Council Of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and its affiliated Forestry research institutes such as Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, Institute of Social Forestry and Eco-rehabilitation, Allahabad etc.
  • Wildlife Research Institutes in Dehra Dun, Coimbatore etc.
  • Zoological Parks
  • Wildlife Ranges
  • Education sector as tutors
  • Green watchers, Wildlife Trust of India, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Environment Awareness Society, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) etc are some of the national and international voluntary organizations that actively work towards the preservation and conservation of wildlife and forests.

Entry into the Central government is through the Indian Forest Service (IFS) examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Applicants with a graduate degree in animal husbandry and veterinary science, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, statistics, zoology, agriculture, forestry or engineering, and between 21 years and 30 years of age are eligible to apply.

Initial training is at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, after which the selected candidates are trained at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy at Dehra Dun. They are then posted as the assistant conservator, district conservator, conservator, chief conservator, principal conservator, and the inspector general of forests. The senior most post is that of the Environment Secretary in the Union Government.


In the government sector, the starting salary is per government pay scales:

  • Junior scale Rs 8000 to Rs 13500
  • After 4 years Rs 10000to Rs 15200
  • Junior Administrative Grade Rs 12000 to Rs 16050
  • Selection Grade Rs 14300 to Rs 18300
  • Conservator of forests Rs 16400 to Rs 20000
  • Chief Conservator of forests Rs 18400 to Rs 22400
  • Principal Conservator of forests Rs 22400 to Rs 24500
  • Inspector General Rs 26000

Indian Forests Service officials are also entitled to accommodation, official vehicle, telephone and other government allowances. Those with qualification in forest management find jobs with multinationals, Indian firms, NGOs can expect to get a salary of Rs12000 to Rs16000 per month.

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