How to become a Forest Ranger in India | Forest Services Career Guide

Classification of various Forest Services

Forests are the lifeline of every possible being prevailing on this globe. Has it ever occurred to your mind, how does the forest cover in India continue to stand despite huge population pressure, increased grazing, encroachment, and diversion of forest land? Well, the sustainability of the wilderness is preserved by the Forest Department of India. Without the contribution of the Forest Department of India, half of the country’s resources would have been depleted. The forest land is halved into various sectors based on which the duties are assigned.

Beginning from the primary level, the Forest Services’dutiesare classified into ten fundamental categories. These categories are essentially based on the variations in the district area. The areas are named beat, block, sub-range, range, sub-division, division, respectively, and the State as a whole.

The various Forest Services are enumerated below:

Forest Guard:-This is the initial level in any forest department. A forest guard is accountable for all the activities prevailing in a beat (a small fraction of forest). Although the salary of forest guard varies for different states, it can be somewhere near Rs.5,200- Rs.20,200 based on the years of joining.

Forester:-Foresters are people who work at a higher level than that of forest guards. The tethered assigned to them is larger than the beat and it is called a block. Foresters are generally accountable for the protection and regeneration of forests and wildlife. Oftentimes, they are asked to prepare reports, manage financial budgets, and shape ideas to attend to public needs. A forester earns aroundRs.15,000-Rs.20,000 per month.

Deputy Ranger:- A deputy ranger is the head of foresters and his/her level of expertise is usually the botanicals although they have to look after the well being of the animals in the area as well. They gradually become prospective candidates for the post of a forest ranger after gaining the experience of about one to three years. The salary varies from state to state but on average, they earn Rs.5,200-Rs.20,400 every month.

Forest Ranger:-  A forest ranger is assigned for an area that is larger than a block and it is called range. The job profile and everything related to it are discussed in the latter part of this article.

Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF):-  ACF is an assistant to the Conservator of Forests(CF) and supervises the work assigned to the range officers. Unlike the other officers, they’re solely focused on the conservation of forests. Their task is to promote sustainment. The qualification requirements are high to be appointed as an ACF. They are paid approximately Rs.55,000-Rs.60,000.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO):-  Divisional Forest Officer is also known as Deputy Conservator of Forest and a whole division or district falls under him. They are highly qualified and they have to look after the welfare of the forest, wildlife, and environment-related issues of their forest division. They are accountable to document the issues and report them to the Conservator of Forests (CF).

Conservator of Forests:-As the name suggests, a CF is responsible to ensure the proper enforcement of duties in various regions. Their motive is to promote the interests of the people in conserving the forests.

Chief Conservator of Forests(CCF):- A CCF assigns the tasks to the CF. He /She is supposed to manage the several levels all at once. Their central motive involves the formation of strategies to limit the cutting down of various trees regardless of the never-ending demands in the market. They are paid nearly Rs.13,00,000 paper annum.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest:- The APCCF supervises the ones working under him. He/She takes orders from the PCCF and carries out the tasks assigned to him/her by the superior or the chief. The salary paid to them is around Rs.14,00,000 per annum.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests:-  This is the highest-paid and highest-ranked job in the Indian Forest Services in a particular state in India. They manage and supervise almost all the activities related to the forest. They are paid nearly Rs.15,00,000 per annum.

The distinctions based on their responsibilities and ranking are enlisted in the points mentioned overhead respectively.

 How to become a Forest Ranger

Forest: A large area covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth.

Ranger: A member of a body of armed men.

Hence, Forest Ranger is a member of a body of armed men whose duty is to enforce the sustainable management of the country’s natural resources by assisting the superiors in implementing the National Forest Policy. A forest range officer or forest ranger is liable for promoting efficient and effective methods in forest management activities. They manage and develop a range of the forest. Forest Rangers act as the bridge that covers the gap between the operational level and the top levels of the forest service division. They are passionate about working in the wild in the presence of nature. Forest ranger plans, execute, supervise, and protects the operational functions of his/her range.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a Forest Ranger are enumerated below:- 

  1. They are responsible for upholding the carriers, vehicles, and other automobiles which belongs to their area. 
  2. They need to keep check of the fire fighting equipment and other safety protocols in their department. 
  3. In case of emergencies, they need to join in the search and rescue teams.
  4. It is their responsibility to assemble diverse tree seeds. 
  5. They need to ensure the safety of the endangered plants, trees, and animals.
  6. They need to make sure that the soil and land integrity is maintained at all times. 
  7. They need to protect the forest cover from the various advancement projects which may require mass cutting down of the trees. 
  8. They need to organize awareness programs to develop a sense of responsibility in the intellect of people towards the environment.
  9. They also need to make reports and discuss any prevalent issues with the higher authorities.
  10. They need to organize a campaign to bring together the locals and tribal people. 
  11. They need to manage and establish a nursery or the greenhouse. 
  12. Timber extraction is a severe issue and their job is to minimize it as much as possible. 

Entitlement and Privileges

  1. A forest ranger has the authority over weapons and they have all licenses which allow them to use them for any safety purposes.
  2. They can carry outa search operation without any search warrant at hand.
  3. Concerning forest crime, a forest ranger can arrest the culprit without a warrant.
  4. They can cease any vehicle carrying illicit forest properties and charge a hefty penalty to release it.
  5. They are privileged to become a courteous member of the Forest Development Committees.
  6. Without their approval, neither financial nor any other activities can be carried out.
  7. They are offered a salary of Rs. 35,400 at the initial stage and it can increase up to Rs.1,12,400 along with some other allowances and it may vary for various states.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria or standards or norms for the post of forest ranger are quite precise. There are essentially classified into three levels:-

1. Academic

The requirement of educational qualification can never be disregarded in any profession. There are two basic requirements when it comes to a forest ranger. The candidate must be a graduate of Science or Engineering. In higher secondary or graduation level, the subjects must include anyone the following papers:- 

  • AgricultureBotany 
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Application/ Computer Science
  • Engineering Agriculture/ Chemical/ Civil/ Computer/ Electrical/ Electrical/ Electronics/ Mechanical
  • Environmental Science
  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Horticulture
  • Mathematics
  • Physics 

2. Physical

The candidate must be physically fit and must possess the subsequent qualities:

  • Height: The minimum height for males is 163cm and for females it is 150cm. In places such as Assam, Bhutan, Ladakh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, the minimum height for males is 152cm and for females it is 145cm.
  • Chest: The chest girth for males should be 84 and for females, it should be 79. In places such as Assam, Bhutan, Ladakh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh both the male and the female candidates are allowed an increase of 5cm in the chest girth. 
  • Endurance: In the selection process, the candidates have to go through a test of distance walking which includes walking for four hours. Hence, endurance is important for competitors.

3. Age

The age limit for the candidates to apply and appear for the exam is 30 years. Applicants having Schedule Caste (SC) or Schedule Tribe (ST) certificates get an extension of 5 years whereas Other Backward Classes(OBC) certificate holders get 3 years of relaxation. 

Selection Process

The selection process can be classified into three stages discussed below:-

1. Online Written Test

This is the most crucial stage for the candidate as he/she can not proceed for the next stage if they fail. Hence, one must make an effort to qualify in this test. This test includes the following: 

  • General aptitude 
  • Intelligence
  • Reasoning
  • General awareness
  • Quantitative aptitude
  • English comprehension
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics/ Biology
  • Technology and Environment

2. Physical Test

In the physical test, all the eligibility criteria mentioned above are to be met by the candidate. A distance walking test is also conducted to check the physical fitness of the candidate. In this test, males have to walk at least 25km and the females are deemed to walk for 16 km. If he/she meets the required precepts, then they may proceed to the next stage. 

3. Document Verification

Last but not least, an interview is conducted and if everything clears out, the selected is provided with the appointment letter to join the Forest Services of India.

Application Process

The application procedure is simple. The state administrations of every state provide an online link through which registration is done and applications are approved. Every state has a different website like the CGPSC of Chandigarh and OPSC of Odisha which notifies those who are interested in the vacancies available. Both the State and the Central government is involved in the recruitment process.

Training  Institutions

The appointed candidates have to go through a long training process of about 18 months. The training system for Forest Rangers is harder than that of IPS. They need to be trained in Forestry, Environment, Wildlife Management and Survival techniques. More practical knowledge is required other than theory. Hence, the training contains manyfield visits, physical training, tours of various forest lands. After the training is completed and the actual work begins,the officer is under probation which means under observation by the superiors. Therefore, it becomes essential to get trained. The distinct institutions, well known for training Forest Rangers are enlisted below:

  • Central Academy for State Forest Service, Dehradun [ Uttarakhand ]
  • Central Academy of Forest Education, Kurseong [ West Bengal ]
  • Central Academy for State Forest Service, Coimbatore[ Tamil Nadu ]
  • Central Academy for State Forest Service, Burnihat [ Assam ]
  • Central Forest Rangers College, Chandrapur [  Maharashtra ]
  • Forest Training Institute and Rangers College, Sunder Nagar [ Himachal Pradesh ]
  • Karnataka State Forest Academy, Dharwad [ Karnataka ]
  • Odisha Forest Ranger College, Angul [ Odisha ]
  • Telangana State Forest Academy, Hyderabad [ Andhra Pradesh ]
  • Uttarakhand Forestry Training Academy, Haldwani [ Uttarakhand ]
  • Kundal Academy of Development Administration and Management, Kundal [ Maharashtra ]

Career Scope

A Forest Ranger is not only a range officer but it is the initial stage for him/her as an Indian Forest Service Officer. A Forest Ranger is a Three Star-Gazette Officer which is the pride of every officer. After a few years of experience, they are promoted to the post of ACF ( Assistant Conservator of Forest ). The level keeps on progressing for if the officer keeps working efficiently and effectively towards the betterment of the ecological resources

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