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Home » IAS Articles » Indian Forest Services Articles » Forestry & Wildlife - Study & Training

Forestry & Wildlife - Study & Training


Forestry is a professional course taught at 17 State Agricultural Universities in India. The study of Forestry incorporates courses in Forest management, training in all aspects of forestry, research, and extension services.

The B.Sc course in Forestry is of 4 year duration and incorporates Silviculture, Forest Management, Wildlife Management, Ecology & Environment, Forest product utilization, Extension and Social forestry and some allied courses such as soil science, entomology, pathlogy etc. Admission to the course requires entry subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Maths, or Biology in Class XII. 15% seats are filled through a combined entrance test conducted by ICAR ( see article on Agriculture - Study & Training). 85 % of the seats in each state are filled through the State Selection examinations.

The M. Sc course in Forestry is of 2 year duration. The eligibility is degree in Forestry. The course is a combination of study and research. The specialisation courses at this level are in Silviculture, Forest Management, Extension & Social Forestry, Agroforestry, Forest Product, Forest Tree Genetic Resources etc.

Another entry point into Forestry is by joining the Indian Forest Service.

Indian Forest Services (IFS)

The IFS is a Central Government Service, for which a selection test is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House, New Delhi, (http://www.upsc.gov.in) for better and integrated forest management. This examination is separate and different from the other Civil Service exams.

UPSC Examination for the Forest Service is open only to science and engineering graduates. It is based on IAS pattern and a candidate may take 4 attempts. Age should be 21-30 years. Both Male & Female candidates can apply.

Eligibility - Graduates with at least one of these subjects Botany, Chemistry, Zoology, Physics, Statistics, Geology, Agriculture, Forestry,
Engineering Mathematics Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

Papers - Compulsory papers are, General English (Essay and precis/summary/comprehension and verbal ability) of 300 marks and General Knowledge of 300 Marks.

Optional Papers (any two) - Agriculture or Agricultural Engineering, Botany, Chemistry or Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Geology, Mathematics or Statistics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Zoology and Forestry. Combinations not allowed are Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering ; Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science ; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering ; Mathematics and Statistics. More than one subject from the four streams of engineering are not allowed. The test is of the essay type and has to be taken in English. Candidates qualifying the objective type test go through a rigorous medical examination, including a walk of 25 km. in 4 hours for men and 14 km. in 4 hours for girls. The final selection is made at an interview. Questions are generally forest oriented. For the selected candidates there is a training period like the IAS officers followed by a course at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Forest Research Institute at Dehradun. During this period most subjects related to the work are taught followed by six month training at the Mussoorie Academy.

After the training probationers proceed to their allotted State (cadre) as Assistant Conservator of Forests on probation for one year. On completion they are appointed as full fledged Divisional Forest Officers of a division in 4 to 5 years time. The Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Wildlife is the senior most official responsible for forests in the country. In the Ministry he is assisted by Inspector-General of Forests, Additional IG, DIG (Forest), etc. At the State level is the Prime Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Additional Forester, Divisional Forest Officer and Assistant Conservator of Forests.

State Forest Service

State forest officials are recruited by State Public Service Commissions of the respective states. The eligibility for candidates and the examination pattern is almost the same as for Indian Forest Service examinations.

Forest rangers examination is also conducted at the state level by the Staff Selection Commissions. Eligibility for this examination is graduation with science subjects, however, in some states Class 12 with science subjects is required.


Wildlife consultancy Organisations like Center for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, Tata Energy Research Institute, or even consultancy firms like KPMG and Ernst & Young require wildlife consultants to do 'Environment Impact Assessment' for a project.

Wildlife Photography, Film making & Journalism - Still photographers like Bedi brothers, Joanna Van Gruisen and film makers (Mike Pandey, Alva brothers) or wildlife journalists (Bitto Sehgal, Usha Rai) have set an example through their dedication. If you like researching, writing & photography, and the outdoors these are excellent options in the field of wildlife.

A graduate course should be taken after 10+2 in subjects such as : Agriculture. Graduate courses are of 3 years duration and in Agricultural universities duration is 4 years. Economics, Geology, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, Mechanical Engineering or Environmental Sciences or Forestry for entry. Courses in Forestry are given in the table at the end of this chapter.

Research - With any life science background research at the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun or in one of the universities which offers wildlife biology, ecology, entomology, wildlife veterinary science etc is an interesting option.

It would be better to pursue wildlife biology rather than MSc or PhD in zoology, however, the course may be general ecology oriented or in wildlife studies.

JNU's Centre for Environment Sciences is more inclined towards basic ecology, while Shillong University's Department of Forestry is more known for its research activities in wildlife.

If birds are your interest, then a diploma in ornithology from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) would be more suitable than MSc from the Wildlife Institute of India, which is biased towards mammalian studies.

NGO jobs - Marine biology, entomology are good options for joining NGO projects. Aligarh Muslim University holds an entrance examination once year for 5 seats while the Wildlife Institute has 10 seats offered twice a year. Wildlife veterinarians are must in demand. Several NGOs have begun to hire Indian biologists and veterinarians to undertake projects in Vietnam, Tahito, Cambodia and South Africa.

Ecological Conservation - Even without a science discipline Salim Ali School of Ecology, Pondicherry offers MSc in Ecology.

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