Arunachal Pradesh, situated in the Eastern Himalayan Range of our country has the largest forest cover next only to Madhya Pradesh. With over 82% geographical area under forest it has an unparalleled biodiversity in the country accounting for over 50% of the floral wealth and equal number of animal diversity that give this territory the status of one of the "Biodiversity Holspols" in the world. This strategically important hilly state with numerous hills rising gradually from the plains of Assam to he lolly mountains bordering Tibet & China in the North has about 16 major rivers and about 150 rivulets/ watersheds that make the state evergreen. This varying climatic situation has favoured the luxuriant growth of vegetation & various forest types. There are over 20 forest types ranging from tropical to alpine situation. A great number of tribes -.25 major tribes and over 100 sub-tribes- inhabit these hills and harness the natural resources taking advantage of the plethora of forest products. With recent developments and changing life style there is evidence of mounting pressures on the natural ecosystem. This opens up challenges for managing the forest and environment. Systematic research and studies are indispensable for proper understanding, development, management and sustainable utilization of forests in the state. This hilly state's economy revolves around the forests. The abundance of forest resources particularly the wide range of non-timber resources (NTFP) has prompted to harness the NTFP in a more sustainable and eco-friendly manner.With the increasing population, day by day there is an increased demand, for forest land and resources. Various factors both natural and man made cause a serious threat of depletion and degradation of natural forest cover of Arunachal Pradesh. Hence systematic research and studies are indispensable for proper understanding, development and management of the forests of the state. This warrants higher scientific inputs and institutional arrangement .
Recognizing the need of research and scientific management in the rapidly developing forestry of the state (erstwhile Union Territory) Government of Arunachal Pradesh established a Silviculture Division under the Department of Environment & Forests sometimes during 1972. To cope with R & D activities an Institute namely 'Van Vigyan Kendra' (VVK) was established at Chessa under the division in the year 1984. Later the one and only State Forest Research Institute (SFRT) in North East India was established in 1993 at Itanagar by amalgamating the existing VVK and Orchid Research Development & Center, Tippi.
The Institute is located at Van Vihar (27° 4' N & 93° 36' E), Itanagar in the Capital complex along Itanagar- Gohpur road in Papum Pare district on an elevated plot of land on the bank of River Chimpu. With the hilly surroundings, it enjoys salubrious climate with moderate warm summers and cool winters. The central location facilitates accessibility to other institutes and organizations situated in Itanagar in addition to better networking with national and regional institutions.
The Institute is fully owned and aided by the State Government under the Department of Environment & Forests. The Director heads the Institute to co-ordinate R & D activities and to formulate projects suited to local needs in consultation with Research Advisory Board headed by the Principal CCF as its Chairman. There arc seven Scientific Divisions namely, Silviculture, Forest Genetics & Tree Improvement, Orchidology, Systematic Botany, Soil Science, Forest Zoology and Ecology .
To man these disciplines the institute has a select breed of dedicated scientists, professionals and executive staff. The staff is highly qualified and experienced. At present there are 7 scientists, 1 forest professional, 6 Research Range Officers and other field executive staff in addition to technical, administrative and ministerial stall. As on today, total staff strength of SFRI is 110. Over the last ten years, starting from Late Shri B. S. Beniwal, IFS, seven officers have served the institute as its Director. The chronology of their services is given below:
1. Late B. S. Beniwal, IFS 05/10/1993 to 05/11/1995
2. Late A. K. Chatterjee, IFS 05/11/1995 to 05/11/1996
3. Shri M. L. Deori, IFS 05/11/1996 to 28/04/2000
4. Shri Ajay Saxena, IFS 28/04/2000 to 17/11/2000
5. Shri P. K. Sen, IFS 17/11/2000 to 27/02/2001
6. Dr. Rabindra Kumar, IFS 27/02/2001 to 04/06/2001
7. Dr. S. N. Hegde/Scientist-SE 04/06/2001 to till date
Presently, the institute has following scientists working in their respective disciplines
1. Dr. S. N. Hegde, Orchidologist (1978 onwards)
2. Dr. A. N. Rao, Asstt. Orchidologist (1984 onwards)
3. Dr. A. Borang, Forest Zoologist, (1986 onwards)
4. Dr. S. P. Singh, Forest Ecologist (1999 onwards)
5. Shri G. Murtem, Soil Scientists. (1999 onwards)
6. Shri T. Pertin, APFS, Silviculturist and DFO, Silviculture (2004 onwards)
Following Scientists have left the institute.
1. Dr. N. B. Singh, Forest Geneticist (Year 1982-87)
2. Dr. S. Mohan, Soil Scientists (1985-1990)
3. Dr. S. P. Ahlawat, Forest Geneticist (1996-2001)
4. Dr. K. Hazarika, Soil Scientists (1997-1999)
5. Dr. S. K. Barik, Ecologist (1995 - 1998)
6. Dr. K. Haridasan, Systematic Botanist, (1982-2004)
Following Forest Officers have served the institute as DFOs/SilvicuIturists from 1993 onwards.
1. Shri B. S. Benewal, IFS
2. Shri. M. S. Negi, APFS.
3. Shri C. Longchat, APFS
5. Shri P, Asthana, IFS
6. Shri S. K. Bhandary, IFS
7. Shri Gulab Singh, APFS
8. Shri Santosh Kumar, IFS
9. Shri S. K. Aggarwal, IFS
10. Shri V. K. Jawal, APFS
11. T.Pertin, APFS
I. In-house Facilities: Despite limited housing facility, the Institute has moderately well equipped laboratories for various scientific divisions and one A-Class Tissue Culture laboratory each at Itanagar and Tippi (Bhalukphong). A well stocked library; a referral Herbarium, a referral Zoological Museum, a Snake Referral Museum for Eastern Himalayas and a Botanical Museum for bamboo, cane and medicinal plants at Itanagar and an Orchidarium, Orchid Herbarium and Museum at Tipi have been established.
II. Field Facilities: There are 6 Research Ranges and 5 Sub-Centers with well maintained nurseries located under different altitudinal and climatic region in the state covering over 2,000 ha. to facilitate field trials and site specific research. There arc a number of field trial plots like sample plots, observation plots and linear increment plots.