Forest Research Institute commonly known as FRI was established in the Dehradun valley in 1878. It was started as a forest school. It was initially named as the Imperial Forest Research Institute which came into being in 1906. This institute and colleges, with a number of centers located at different places all over the country conduct research as well as training of Forest Officers and Forest Rangers. After the creation of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in 1998, and revamping of Forestry research in the country, the training and research centers were granted an independent status of institutes. Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, now comes under ICFRE, and it was conferred the status of Deemed University in December 1991, on the recommendations given the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The Forest Research Institute, Dehradun is an educational cum tourist spot. This premier research institute is also said to be the oldest research institutes of the country. It is principally dedicated to the study of plants animals and the topography of the Himalayan forests. As its name suggests it is singularly dedicated to the field of forestry.
Constructed in the colonial era, the architecture is Greko-Roman, by architect C.G. Blomfield, the main structure is the part of National Heritage, inaugurated in 1929. This style of architecture has a great presence in the Renaissance. The campus area is spread to Five Kilometres, which has a huge variety of plants, trees, and birds, which especially has a wide range of migratory birds. This architectural masterpiece is home to an expansive amount of data and specimens pertaining to forestry and forest research. It also hosts 6 museums of forest research including the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and Indian Council of Forest Research. The institute’s history is well nigh with the evolution and development of scientific forestry, not only in India but the entire Asian sub-continent. It is set in lush green estate spread over 450 hectares, with the outer Himalaya forming a beautiful backdrop. The main building of the institution is a spectacular establishment, with a plinth area of 2.5 equipped with fine laboratories, library, herbarium, arboreta, printing press, and experimental field area to conduct forestry research. The museum in its premises have a valuable source of scientific information that is a major attraction for tourists visiting this place.
The research in this institute is focused on the Indo-Gangetic plains of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Western Uttar Pradesh. There are several milestones that have been covered by this institute over the years. In 1864 systematic Forest was introduced under Sir D. Brandis (the first IGF). In 1878 the forest school in Dehradun came up. And in the year 1906 when it was established with six Research Disciplines Silviculture, Working plans, Forest Geology, Botany, Economics, Chemistry. FRI has developed a strong scientific base and has the largest Forestry Research Manpower in South Asia. It is a storehouse of knowledge, blending basic Forestry knowledge with Frontline Research. It stresses an emphasis on Multidisciplinary and collaborative research. IGNFA which is a separate organization within this campus is of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (IIFM). IIFM is an independent autonomous organization of MoEF and has a good association with FRI for forestry research and other related activities. It also hosts the Central Ministry for State Forest Services (CAFSOS).
The mains aim towards which tries to work is the conservation of biodiversity. They work on production, certification, and supply of quality seeds of fuel, fodder, and timber species. Social Forestry and Agroforestry is another main aim. Conservation of and eco-restoration of ecologically fragile and disturbed areas. Utilization of non- conventional woods and weed for manufacture of forest products is a way they are trying to make for the society. they are also working on Planting stock improvement programs of various species. They are developing technologies for the reclamation of wastelands. Geological, geomorphological, and micro-morphological studies on skeletal and sodic soils. The reclamation of ecological monitoring of mined areas and the development of technology for eco- friendly preservatives is another stepping stone towards their success.
There are 6 Museum on this campus which depict every aspect of forestry.
● SILVICULTURE MUSEUM: This museum gallery was renovated and inaugurated by Sh. Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, MOEF&CC on 17 December 2018. This gallery presents an overview of the Evolution of Forests, Forest Genesis and Growth, threats to forests, and various Dioramas depicting the forests of Tropical Temperate Regions, Silviculture systems, Ecosystem Services, and Sustainable Forest Management. It also showcases threats to forests like deforestation, forest fire, shifting cultivation, adverse climatic factors, insects, pests, diseases, etc.
● TIMBER MUSEUM: this museum exhibits the best known and most commercial woods. One hundred and twenty-six commercially used species have been displayed for the visitors along with their characteristics displayed. Timber engineering techniques using short dimensional timber for a large span of trusses are depicted and some cabinet designing. However, the center of attraction is a traverse section of a 704-year-old Deodar Tree which felled in 1919 from the hills. It also has a gun carriage wheel made out of Rosewood, Andaman Padauk, and Shisham.
● NON-WOOD FOREST PRODUCTS MUSEUM: It depicts a difference between resin tapping technique and newly developed rill method for resin tapping. Samples of turpentine oil and rosin and a variety of species of bamboo found in this country make a unique collection with many more products from leaves, grasses, and flosses.
● SOCIAL FORESTRY MUSEUM: it portrays the effects of the environment with and without trees, and the productivity and economy of villages. Photographs and models showcase the effect of tree growth on fuelwood, fodder, and other forest by-products. Exhibits demonstrate the possibilities of establishing suitable cottage industries based on social forestry products and the role of social forestry in providing employment, particularly to landless populations.
● PATHOLOGY MUSEUM: This museum houses 900 exhibits of numerous economically important tree diseases and timber decays. It also displays the beneficial role of fungi as mycorrhiza to establish and promote tree growth in pines as well as the value of fungi as a source of food.
● ENTOMOLOGY MUSEUM: It contains round about 3,000 exhibits that represent various stages of insect pests and the nature of damage caused by them to seed, seedlings, standing trees, and felling timbers. Some of the insecticides and their application equipment are also exhibited. The life of termites is illustrated and their control is a very educative piece.
There are plenty of Forest Research Institutes in India offering various research courses and projects. These are broadly classified into three categories which are under-
● Indian Council of Forestry Research
● Ministry of Environment and Forests
● State Governments
There are various forest research projects and career opportunities such as Environment Management, Forestry Management, Wood Science, Silviculture, Wildlife Science, etc. that are offered in India. These range from working in zoological parks to wildlife rangers to owning plantations to working in research institutes.