Garhwal University was established on December 1st 1973 under the provisions of Uttar Pardesh State Universities Act. The name of the university was rechristened to Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in 1989 in commemoration of the memory of a leading statesman of the country, Shri Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, and subsequently established as Central University under the provision of the Central Universities Ordinance in 2009.
Forestry as a subject was part of teaching programe since the inception of the University, keeping in view the socioeconomic and cultural importance of forests in the Himalaya. In this region, forest and people have co-existed symbiotically through the ages. This was the reason that forestry as curricula was made as a integral part of the university. Except the initial establishment era, the department has spread its dimension in various domain of forestry sector, specifically in the context of hills.
Among the traditional Universities, the Department of Forestry of H.N.B. Garhwal University is exception which offers four years Undergraduate Forestry Degree course spread in eight semesters and two year Postgraduate Forestry Degree course with spread of four semesters since 2003-2004. Besides this, the department also offers research degree programme in Forestry (Ph.D.).
Over the years, the department though a small entity, has made significant contributions in many thrust areas of forestry viz., Natural Resource Management, Tree Eco-Physiology, Hill Agro Forestry, Forest Ecology and biodiversity, Conservation Ecology, Regeneration Ecology and Tree Seed Technology. Now the focus of the Department has been broadened with the inclusion of some other thrust areas such as Ecosystem Goods and Services; Forestry and Climate Change and REDD+.
Based on the contributions of the Department in research and academics, various national organization has provided financial support for research and development to the department. Moreover, for strengthening the department, continuous financial support is being provided by Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE), Dehradun since 1995. The importance of academic contribution of the department has also been recognized by DST-FIST in 2007, which has further supported and assisted in strengthening of the department.
The department has dedicated building with spread of 2376.33 m2 area inclusive the 1300.00 m2 area dedicated to laboratories. The department has library with access to latest editions of books, and national and international journals. The department is well equipped with latest computer labs with internet facilities and analytical softwares including SPSS, ARCGIS,ERDAS,GIS and RS facilities. The department has its own boy’s hostel with accommodation facility for 53 students.
At present the department has 09 teaching staff viz 01 Professor, 02 Associate Professors, and 06 Assistant Professors with all possessing D. Phil, besides supporting staffs such as 01 Laboratory Assistant, 01 Lab Bearer, 01 Office Assistant, 01 Driver and 04 nursery staff. One faculty member has been awarded by Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education for outstanding contribution to research in the field of Forest (Silviculture) Research for the year 1998-99.
More than 20 scholars from this department have been awarded D. Phil degree in Forestry by the University. Three scholars were selected as Scientist by Agriculture Research Scientist Board (ICAR) and more than 08 scholars have qualified National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), New Delhi. The students of the department have also been selected as forestry professionals in many prestigious Government Institutes, Universities, Private sectors and Non Governmental organizations.
The faculty members of the department have the distinction of having completed 18 major research projects sponsored by various agencies such as MNES, New Delhi; MoEF, New Delhi; DST, New Delhi; CSIR, New Delhi; ICAR, New Delhi; MRD, New Delhi; MoA, New Delhi; ICFRE, Dehradun and GBPHIED, Almora. The department has also completed 11 Consultancy projects on issues such as Tree regeneration survey, Environment Impact Assessment & Environment Management Plan and Socio Economic studies for Hydropower projects against the requirement of agencies such as U.P. Forest Department, Lucknow; NHPC, Faridabad; NTPC, NOIDA; SJVNL, Shimla and UJVNL Dehradun, respectively.
The department has organized one International seminar, one symposia, four national workshops and two training workshops. Participation in International and National seminars/symposia/ conferences by faculty members is a regular phenomenon. The faculty of the department has published more than 250 Research papers/articles in the National and International Journals.
Beside teaching, research and consultancy works, the department has also been engaged in field extension programs related to forestry. The department has developed 01 ha nursery in University campus at Chauras, plantation models in about 200 ha of community/ private land and conducted 24 environmental awareness camps in remote areas of Uttarakhand.
Department has also initiated International collaboration for Natural Resource studies and Teaching and Research exchange programme with ICRAF, South Asia, New Delhi. Memorandum of understanding for exchange of faculty and students and for undertaking joint research projects are under consideration with some other national and international institutes/ universities.