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:
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.