Forestry optional – Detailed guideline and booklist – UPSC IFS.

Forestry is most favourite optional for IFS aspirants. All over India Forestry is chosen as one of the optional for IFS. The reason for it,

  • relatively manageable and small syllabus
  • very much scope for self-preparation
  • less technical part – so one needs just a month of time to understand the whole syllabus.
  • consistently scoring one – if you just read the book once you can score 200+ (though it wont help you to sail through ,its a good score)
  • straight forward questions in mains – easy to score most of the time
  • Suits all candidates irrespective of their UG.
  • above all – only one book that covers 90% of the syllabus .

First of all i would like clarify the following:

  • unlike Geology optional , I took coaching here – By Mr.Karthikeyan Sir in Shanakr IAS Academy – he himself a forestry graduate from Tamilnadu Forest college – he made technical part in forestry a cake walk for me.
  • I finished coaching even before prelims as i was confident of clearing IFS cutoff( I have done that once already and came close to it even in my first attempt)
  • My Civil services Geography optional helped me alot here – in many topics like soil,environment,agro forestry etc….
  • I have scored 223 in forestry optional – thought not a top score , its a decent one. Many have scored 240+ . I did a mistake of attending non-technical question in paper 2 which costs me around 20 marks. So,if you know technical questions then attend those to showcase your expertise in forestry rather than writing questions regarding pollution,climate change etc…

Let us dissect the syllabus of Forestry:

Easy one:

Paper 1 :Sec A:

1.Silviculture  – Mangrove and Cold desert – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

Know scientific names of trees. Its a must.

Paper 1: SEC B:

1.Agroforestry – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu , Indian geography by Khullar .

2.Forest soils,Conservation and watershed management – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu , Indian geography by Khullar (For watershed part) , Physical geography by Savindra singh (For soil part)

3.Environmental conservation and biodiversity – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

Paper 2: SEC A:

1.Forest Working Plan – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and PrabhuLS Khanna (I just used to know about some topics in working plan – just 2 pages was useful)

2.Surveying and Forest Engineering – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu


Paper 2 : SEC B:

1.Forest Ecology and Ethno botany – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

Some topics like clonal park wont be available in the book – you have to search in internet.

2.Forest Resources and utilization – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

You need to mug up here a lot… (Very difficult taks – a last day revision is the only way to remember all these)

3.Forest protection and wildlife – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

4.Forest economics and legislation – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

On legislation part – check previous year question paper and work according to it. If some legislations missed out – do read on your own.

Difficult one: Coachin was very useful here.

Paper 1:  SEC A:

1.Silviculture – General – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

See diagrams from internet to understand the concept soon.

2.Silviculture Systems – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu 

Its a beautiful topic and real forestry lies here. Get guidance from anyone or check for any videos to understand it better. Else the upcoming topic “Silviculture of trees” will be a nightmare for you.

For reference  – Silvi systems

3.Silviculture of trees – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

You need to create a table that define the charachter of trees and the climate of the region and have to decide which system will be suitable and why. This is easy way to mug up it. Scorable but need good understanding. Eg: A frost weak tree cannot be suitable for clear felling as no canopy will be there and will prone to frost and die. Likewise you need link everything conceptually (Wont be available in book.) Dont get fear by lookin at tree list. Once you understand the linkage concept its easy.

Paper 1: SEC B:

1.Tree improvement and seed technology. Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

The part which i hate. And which is too technical in forestry. Its all about genes. Be thorough about it. As far as i know,its difficult to understand this topic with the help of the above book alone.

Paper 2: SEC A:

1.Forest Management and Management Systems – Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu ,

Management will be difficult but Mensuration is a scoring one. Dont mug up all management techniques, its nearly impossible. Read whatever you can and depend on other part of the syllabus.

2. Forest Mensuration and Remote Sensing –Indian Forestry by Manikandan and Prabhu

Mensuration – just basic sin ,cos etc… Leave away your fear on maths ,its easy and scorable.  If you want – Mensuration – read this book.

Paper 2: SEC B:

  1. All are easy

General tips:

  • Last revision must – as most of things are in a single book and most are factual and too much of terms – revision will give you an edge over others
  • Remembering scientific tree names and quoting them is must. (No way )
  • Diagrams – must
  • Manikandan and Prabhu book doest not cover whole syllabus – so check in internet on those uncovered things.
  • If you know a technical question do choose it over questions like Agro forestry because its scorbale and make you stand out of the crowd.
  • My suggestion  -Attempt more from SEC  A part in Paper 1 and SEC A part in Paper 2.  Its technical and you can show ur expertise here. Since most will score 200+ in forestry easily this will give you an edge.
  • Attempt all questions.
  • Dont ever leave single page in that book .Each bold letter may come as a 10 mark question even its just a line in the book. So you dont have privilege of omitting anything there.


All the best.

Any doubts : Comment below or mail me :

5 Responses to “Forestry optional – Detailed guideline and booklist – UPSC IFS.”
  1. Rahul Chawla says:

    Sir for 2nd choice which is better GEOLOGY OR FORESTRY.

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