UPSC IFS : Notes for Forestry Optional

Dear All,

Since many candidates had requested before, I am attaching my hand-written revision notes for Forestry optional (My score in UPSC examination – Paper I : 119/200, Paper II : 122/200, Overall 241/400).

Please keep in mind that these are just summary notes of different topics (not exhaustive) from the syllabus. The purpose of making these notes is to ensure everything is revised well in last few days before exam . Pardon my handwriting, they were really done in a hurry 🙂

The primary source used is the Indian Forestry Book by Manikandan and Prabhu which acts as an excellent guidebook for a broad understanding of the subject.  Would strongly urge you to go through the entire text so that notes below can make some sense. If possible, you may read LS Khanna for Silviculture (I couldn’t owing to paucity of time). Also remember that you would not get all topics in any single book which are provided in the UPSC syllabus, so make wise-use of Google and online sources/blogs to do your own need-gap analysis and plug them.

A thorough review of past 5 year question papers is also necessary. You would identify topics like Provenance trials and Ethnobotany making an appearance often for which you can find material on the net, including some excellent Youtube Videos. Jot down a couple of key points for each of those along with examples because as I mentioned before, the most important thing is to be able to revise properly.

Please find attached the PDF for notes:

Aishwarya Raj_Forestry Revision Notes

Here are some general pointers I personally felt which can enrich your answers and help fetch good marks for Forestry :

  • The principle of introduction, body and conclusion is universal across papers as far as UPSC is concerned. Try to define the term asked in intro or give a brief about the concept, give 5-6 pointers in the body as per the question’s demand and finally ensure a one line conclusion.
  • Make ample use of diagrams and sketches wherever possible (use pen to save time). This year there was a direct question on different types of forest bridges and structures and thankfully I had practised them once in my notes. Similarly, a rough map of India can be drawn to depict vegetation  or climatic distribution and so on.
  • Have examples ready and use them in your answers. Especially scientific names for various species under different silviculture systems, mangrove and cold desert systems and ones having economic uses, indigenous varieties, used in agroforestry etc. There are scattered examples in the Forestry Book, put them together in one place.
  • For paper II, Forest Management and Forest Mensuration are important topics, please do not skip them owing to the sheer amount of Math involved. I think these played a major factor in scoring more than paper I, which is in fact usually easier.
  • Time Management : Remember all 5 questions to be attempted deserve equal importance, so decide right in the beginning which of the 3 out of total 8 questions are to be left out. Keep track of time throughout.

Hope this helps. All the best.





40 thoughts on “UPSC IFS : Notes for Forestry Optional

    1. Hi Ved, my optional was Chemistry. See both botany and zoology are scoring and interesting subjects to study, make a choice basis your comfort level and ability to revise again the entire syllabus 2-3 times.


  1. Hi.. I did my Botany (H) from Hindu.
    Can i take forestry as an optional? If not which optional will be best for me?


      1. yup… since my secondary subject was Zoology. But due its vast syllabus coverage I am thinking of opting for a concise course like Forestry.
        Hope that will be beneficial?


      2. You may. In that case you read this post again then and look up the syllabus and Q papers. I had a personal liking for this subject so could manage it fairly quickly.


      3. You have suggested Vision IAS magazines for GK.
        For IFS exam what are the relevant sections in it Or
        what should be our strategy while going through it?


      1. Wow, thanks for the geography lesson. I did not know that. I think they are beautiful. I love all the green, but what about during Winter? They aren’t green all year are they?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha that is a valid question. This picture was clicked last Christmas , so it was winter enough :P. It does snow but at lower altitudes doesn’t stay for long. And the greens turn a little brown in peak summer season.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sorry for not responding. I missed your response. Thanks for answering my questions. I would like that weather.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do hope you stick around and write about your experiences during and post training. There are probably a small handful of active forest officers on blogoverse.
    That said, I’m in love with the header image with the bazillion flags in your prelim strategy post!
    Good luck and keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Sir,
    I have a question that can we prepare forestry optional in 4 months time period, I have biotechnology as my background and one of my optional is Botany for IFoS.


  4. Hello,
    Congratulations on making it to the toppers list. I was wondering if you could convince some of your batch mates and share their prep strategies as well. I am interested in civil engineering and agriculture optionals.
    Good luck with your training and journey ahead.


  5. Hello,

    Congratulations on cracking the exam! I was wondering if you could get in touch with some of your batchmates and have a sort of guest post on civil engineering strategy. This year I believe, 3-4 folks have cleared the IFS with civil optional.

    Once again, congratulations. Seeing your personal investment in natural resources, I feel you will make a good officer.

    Best of luck!


  6. Very nice one! Great narrated! Plz share this kind of articles continuously To visit more beautiful tourist destinations in alibaugh or any other destination in India Book taxi service or cab service now at ganraj Travels at very reasonable cost. Ganraj travels is one of the leading taxi and cab service provider in all over india. Hurry up!
    for more information visit our website-


  7. Thank you sir for the guidance. I have started my preparation from this December is there any chance of qualifying the prelims for IFoS in this attempt? Please reply .


  8. Hello sir,
    Can I prepare for botany as my second subject, my first optional being forestry as it is my graduation paper.
    How much time botany will take to be completed ?


  9. Hi Sir !! Iam going to start my preparation for IFS choosing chemistry and forestry as my optional. I would like you tell me your strategy to chemistry preparation ( would be a very big help if you can suggest me the books or any reference notes 🙂 ). Thankyou !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s