In 1867, the British India Government made up Imperial Forest Services for scientific management of the forest land and natural resources in India. Subsequently, post-independence, the Indian Forest Service (IFS) was formed in the year 1966 under the All-India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India. The prime aim of this service is the execution of the National Forest Policy, which envisions the conservation of forests and their resources.

To join the Indian Forest Service, an aspirant need to be at least 21 years and a citizen of Indian. Also, the aspirant must have completed his/her bachelor’s degree from a recognised college or university. The profile of a selected candidate differs as per experience and promotions, and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest is the supreme post under Indian Forest Service. After implementing the 6th pay commission, the pay scale in IFS ranges from INR 56,100-1,77,500 to INR 2,25,000 per month for employees ranging from Level 10 to Level 17. This article gives a brief to candidates who are looking for a career in Indian Forest Service.



To be able to join the Indian Forest Service a candidate must be eligible to take the UPSC examinations. There are eligibility standards set by the committee and only candidates falling under the eligibility criteria must apply for the examination. The basic eligibility requirement for IFS is listed below:

  • Candidates must possess a minimum bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science/ Chemistry/ Botany/ Zoology/ Mathematics/ Geology/ Physics/ Statistics as one of the subjects.
  • Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture/ Forestry or Engineering from a recognised university or institute can also appear for the IFS exam.
  • Candidates younger than 21 years of age are not allowed to appear for the IFS entrance exam.


Selection Procedure

The Indian Forest Service comes under the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) along with three other all-India services i.e., Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), an Indian Police Service (IPS). To secure a position in the IFS an aspirant requires to qualify through the process of selection as per the UPSC. The three levels of the selection procedure are the preliminary examination, the mains examination and the Interview round.

As already stated, a candidate’s news to go through three stages of selection in order to get into the Indian Forest Service. The examination pattern for all three stages is explained further below:

  • Preliminary Examination: There are two sets of paper under the prelims of the IFS examination in both English and Hindi languages. A total of 400 marks is divided for the two papers that are 200 for each. The prelims paper consists of multiple-choice type questions with options for aspirants.
  • Mains Examination: All those candidates who qualify for the prelims will be called for the mains examination. These candidates, after qualifying for the mains successful examination, are then called for the final interview round. The sum of mains marks and marks obtained in the interview round is the qualifying mark of a candidate.

What does an IFS officer do?

The main mandate of an officer of the Indian Forest Services is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which aims to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance. By this, we mean that the officer of respective states and cadres ensure the safety and rising environmental concerns of that particular area. The job responsibilities of IFS officers include the conservation of both plants and animals of a given region.

IFS officers, when posted in the field, work for conservation, protection, and development of forests and wildlife, along with an aim to enhance livelihood opportunities of forest-dependent communities of rural and tribal areas.

Just like all other parts of the world, our nation is home to certain specific breeds of plants and animals that are uniquely found here only. Thereby, the work of an IFS officer is to ensure that these plants and animals can stay, grow, and remain in the habitat that nature has secured for them. Any sort of a problem that occurs in the way of their habitation is the work and responsibility of the Indian Forest Service officers. IFS officers often have to deal with both natural and manmade calamities that endanger the lives and habitats of wildlife.


Career Path

  • Principal Chief Conservator of Forest: This officer is also called as the head of forest force. The major responsibility of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest is to manage the forests, environment and wildlife issues of a state of India. It is regarded as the highest post/ position in Indian Forest Service in a state.
  • Additional Chief Conservator of Forest: The additional conservator of forest plays a vital role in assisting the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest. He or She is directly answerable to the Principal Chief and must carry out the responsibilities assigned by the chief.
  • Deputy Conservator of Forest: A deputy conservator of the forest is also considered as Divisional Forest Officer. The major responsibility of these officials is to manage the forest, environment and wildlife-related issues in Forest Division of a state.
  • Assistant Conservator of Forest: The major responsibility of these officers is to assist the higher-level officials in the department and completing the tasks assigned by them. They also carry out certain responsibilities applicable to their post.
  • Forest Range Officer (FRO): A forest range officer is responsible for the efficient management of the respective forest range, act as custodian of all government property associated with the respective forest range and follow the instructions or Deputy/ Divisional Conservator of Forest.