Forestry is an intresting field of study which deals with the theory and practice of all that constitutes the creation, conservation and scientific management of forests and the utilization of their resources. The scientific forestry started in India is as early as 1864 to train the forestry professionals for the forest management. Forestry education at the University level in the country was started from the State Agricultural Universities ( SAUs ) in the year 1985 with the inception of B.Sc. Forestry as a four year degree program from YSPUHF, Solan and PDKV, Akola.
Later this program was initiated in GBPUAT, Pantnagar and TNAU, Coimbatore in 1986 followed by OUAT, Bhubaneshwar and JNKVV, Jabalpur in 1987. Now there are many SAUs offering this program. Beside this the master and doctoral degrees in forestry/agroforestry with specialization of particular topic related to forestry have also started in some agricultural universities. In the recent past very few traditional universities have also started the Forestry education. Latest estimates prove that there is a significant contribution and importance of forestry sector to the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ).
In order to overcome the adverse forest situation, skilled manpower is required so that a proper action plan can be made based on research inputs and guiding principles. Thus courses on forestry/agroforestry management are of immense importance from policy and application point of view. As per the need of the time the recent syllabus and guideline for the Forestry porgramme at the undergraduate level have been modified by the recommendation of ICAR’s fourth Deans committee on Agriculture ( including Forestry ) Education in India in the year 2007. Generally the Activities of forestry education, research, training and extension fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Forests ( MoEF ), Govt of India.
The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education ( ICFRE ), Dehradun is the apex body under the ministry of MoEF is actively involve in forestry research, training, extension and education. The ministry governs the different eight forest institutes of ICFRE, Dehradun, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun which produces the top forest administrator ( IFS ), Directorate of Forest Education ( DFE ) through its four State Forest Service colleges ( state level ), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore and G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environ-ment and Development, Almora affiliated to the MoEF.
Forestry Education :
I. Undergraduate program :
At present the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs in Forestry are running under various SAUs and some other traditional Universities / Institutes. Majority of SAUs are running B.Sc. forestry a four year professional degree program and rest are planning to initiate this program at very soon. The Forestry graduates are technically qualified, skilled and prepared to cope with the emerging issues and challenges in forestry sector leading to environment and livelihood security.
The basic objective of producing forestry graduates with present trends and requirements for the development of forestry sector and its entrepreneurship on the other hand the Forestry graduates are considered to be a suitable manager for environmental protection, value addition of forestry products and to make forestry farmers globally competitive. The students of B.Sc. Forestry used to study the departmentwise courses related to all the sphere of forestry and become the real forester. In the recent IVth Deans committee on Agricultural Education in India, ICAR, 2007, recommended the departmentwise
Courses to the Forestry Graduates as :
A. Department of Silviculture & Agroforestry – The courses are Principles & Practices of Silviculture; Silviculture of Indian Trees; Agroforestry systems and Management; Plantation Forestry; Silvicultural systems; Nursery management; World Forestry System; Livestock Management; Forest Mensuration; Environ-mental Science; Fundamentals of Horticulture.
B. Department of Forest Biology & Tree Improvement – The courses are Forest Ecology, Biodiversity & Conservation; Dendrology; Principles of Tree Improvement; Tree Seed Technology; Fundamentals of wild Life; Forest Pathology; Wild Life Management; Forest Entomology and Nematology.
C. Department of Forest Products & Utilization – Wood Anatomy; Logging & Ergonomics; Wood Products & Utilization; Wood Science & Technology; Ethnobotany; Utilization of Non-Timber Products; Medicinal & Aromatic Plants.
D. Department of Natural Resource Management – Principles of Hydrology, Soil and Water Conservation; Soil Survey, Remote Sensing and Wasteland Development; Fundamentals of Geology and Soil Science; Rangeland Management; Forest Management; Policy and Legislation; Agrometerology; Forest Business Management; Marketing and Trade of Forest Produce; Principles of Forest Economics; Project planning and Evaluation, Chemistry and Fertility of Forest Soils; Forest Engineering.
E. Department of Basic Sciences & Humanities – Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology; Principles of Cytology and Genetics; Entrepreneurship Development and Communication skills; Elementary Statistics and Computer Application; Principles of Plant Physiology; Tree Physiology; Introductory Forest Economics; Forest Tribology and Anthropology; Fundamental of Extension Education; Structural Grammar and Spoken English; Physical Education and some Deficiency Courses viz.
Introductory Botany ( Math Group ); Basic Mathematics ( Biology Group ) are also being taught in B.Sc. Forestry program. In addition to this as a practical exposure of forest field to the B.Sc. forestry students in a Rural Forestry Work Experience ( RFWE ) programn having duration 20 weeks is also beneficial in the last VII and VIIIth semester. In this RFWE program the Socio-economic surveys–village attachment, Attachment with State Forest Department for Forestry operations, Industrial Placement, Report Writing and Presentation is the real practical outcome of the Forestry graduates.
II. Postgraduate Program :
Many SAUs and very few traditional Universities / Institutes are awarding a two years professional master degree in Forestry ( M.Sc. Forestry ) with specialization in Silviculture, Forest products, Economics and management, Wood Science and Technology, Tree Genetics and Breeding and M.Sc. in agroforestry.
Indian Institute of Forest Management ( IIFM ), Bhopal is the only institute awarding master degree in Forest management in India. The postgraduate students in Forestry are specialized in their discipline and they carry out the research work alongwith specialized courses. The assigned research work is carried out under the supervision of suitable guide and ultimately compiled in the form of dissertation / thesis. The area of specialization and the courses which they study are generally of advanced version of the undergraduate courses.
III. Doctoral Program :
The minimum three years Doctoral program as Ph.D. in Forestry / Agroforestry are also pursuing by four SAUs, two Deemed universities and in three traditional Universities. The research carried at Ph.D. level is pin pointed in a specialized topic of forestry and related fields.
Admission / Selection procedure in Forestry programs at State Agricultural University and other Institutes / Universities :
For admission / selection procedure in the B.Sc. Forestry ( four year degree ), one can apply after 10( + )2 having PCB / PCM / PCMB / Agriculture group. Admission is given as per qualifying the entrance examination conducted by the University / Institute. In some Universities the admission is given as per the merit of the candidates and availability of seats. Special quota for outside state candidates are allowed who have passed the all India entrance exam of ICAR.
This exam is conducted for filling up 15% of the total number of seats in state agricultural Universities for Bachelor’s degree in forestry and other agricultural sciences. After completion of B.Sc. Forestry, candidates can apply for M. Sc. Forestry / Agroforestry in the SAUs or other Institutes/Universities offering mater degree in Forestry. The process of selection in master’s degree is either qualifying the entrance exam or by merit basis of the University / Institute.
ICAR conducts an all India entrance examination for the award of ICAR’s Junior Research Fellowship ( JRF ) and admission to 25% seats of master’s degree program at all the SAUs in the field of Agriculture and allied sciences including Forestry. Similarly in Ph.D. Forestry program one can take admission in the SAUs or other Institutes / Universities on the basis of qualifying entrance examinat-ion or directly as per the norm of the Institutes / Universities.
The National Eligibility Test ( NET ) in Forestry is also one of the important certificate for lectureship, which can be qualified by the examination annually conducted by Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board ( ASRB ) of ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi.
Scholarship is also available to pursue graduation and postgraduation in the discipline of Forestry. ICAR offers National Talent Scholarship @ 1200/- per month in undergraduate program to meritorious candidates in the all India entrance examination conducted by ICAR in many agricultural subjects including Forestry, provided a candidate takes admission in any Institution not falling in his / her own home state. In the post graduate level, respective state governments as well as ICAR offers a number of scholarship. ICAR conducts an all India entrance examination for the award of ICAR’s Junior Research Fellowship ( JRF ) in the field of Agricultural sciences including Forestry. The ICAR’s fellowship at present is @ 5760/ per moth for M. Sc. students for a period of two years with contingent grant of 6000 per annum.
Similarly, for Ph.D. students, fellowships at present is @ 7000 per month for a period of three years with a contingent grant of 10,000 per annum. Beside the above opportunities, scholarships are also offered by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR ) to post graduate and Doctorate student in plant sciences.