In 2002 the Department of Forests (DoF) celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is one of the five departments under the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. The forest administration in Nepal has evolved through a series of fundamental changes in the last fifty years. The changes reflect priorities of the Government’s programs giving more emphasis on people’s need and environmental considerations.
In earlier days forestry in Nepal did not have much development functions. The first official forest administration began with the establishment of Ban Janch Adda (BJA) in 1934, which was mandated to protect and use forest in Terai. This office functioned until 1956 when the office of Chief Conservator of the forests was established. This office supervised three circles: east, west and central and thirteen forest divisions. In 1976, the office of the Chief Conservator became the Department of Forests and the number of circles increased to nine covering the whole country. The number of forest divisions was increased to forty. To focus on soil conservation and wildlife protection, two additional departments, the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation were created in 1974 and 1979 respectively.
Following decentralization policy of the Government, the organisational structure of DoF was reformed in 1983 with the creation of Regional Directorates (RD) and 75 district Forest Offices. RDs were headed by the Regional Directors and District Forest offices were headed by District Forest Controllers. In 1993 there were more changes in the organisational structure of the department. Currently the Department of Forests has seventy four (74) District Forest Offices headed by District Forest Officer and Ninety two (92) Sector Forest Offices and Six hundred ninety eight (698) Ilaka Forest Office.
The Director General of DoF is responsible for overall forest administration of both national and private forests. DoF is the only government agency for the sustainable management, utilization, protection and development of forest resources outside the protected areas. DoF extends its services through four administrative levels: headquarters (DoF), DFO, Sector Forest Office and Ilaka Forest Office. DoF, at its headquarters has the following functional divisions: Planning and monitoring, Community Forest, National Forest and National Silviculture.
There are seventy four District Forest Offices(DFO) responsible for the field level implementation of all the forest development programs, operations and administration. These DFOs report regularly to the respective Regional Directorates of Forest (RDFs) and DoF.