The history of forestry education is not very old in Nepal. It started with the establishment of Nepal Forestry Institute at Singh Durbar in Kathmandu in 1947 under the Department of Forests. Later, it moved to Suping (Bhim Phedi) in 1957 and again to Hetauda in 1965 for better physical facilities established by the Indian Co-operation Mission.
The Institute merged into Tribhuvan University in July 1972 and got a new name “Institute of Forestry (IOF)” committed to the education and training in Forestry and Natural Resource Management. If offered a two-year Certificate Level course in Forestry only at Hetauda until 1981 when it expanded its academic programs to Pokhara, where the infrastructure for the Dean’s Office and Pokhara Campus was developed with the technical and financial assistance from the World Bank, International Development Agency (IDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The distinguished history of access and quality of the IOF continues today, providing graduate and undergraduate students with unique opportunities to make a difference through technically sound and competent and socially amicable and yielding services to the nation in Forestry and Natural Resource Management. Teaching and Research at IOF preserve and enrich creative traditions through well designed educational programs that address the current needs and interest of civil society in the country in the area of forestry and allied fields.
The IOF is committed to producing competent and efficient human resources that can conserve natural resources ingeniously and manage them properly. With the help of its enthusiastic teaching faculty and spirited staff, it has always endeavored to ameliorate its academic environment and administer well designed educational programs that can address the current needs and interest of civil society in the country in forestry and allied fields. It is intended to to satisfying student’s quest for knowledge and pragmatic skills that will make all the difference in their professional career. In addition, the IOF encourages research and extension activities that can address the practical problems of farmers and communities at large and carries out problem solving type of forestry research and develop technology for use in the Nepalese context. Internationalization has always remained a priority at the IOF through various levels of research collaboration and starting double degree program committed to offer quality education.
Design and implement educational programs that can address the need and interest of the country in the area of forestry and allied fields;
Prepare competent and practically oriented professional foresters and efficient managers in the area of natural resource management;
Develop academic environment by encouraging faculty members and students in their professional and career development activities;
Encourage research activities that can address the practical problems of farmers and communities at large; and
Develop IOF as the Center of Excellence in forestry and natural resource management education
Interested and eligible candidates can apply for admission to the BSc, MSc and PhD program of study by filling out the prescribed application forms along with the documents and credentials as mentioned in the IOF website www.iof.edu.np. Application forms and program brochures are available upon request. Applicants for BSc and MSc program are required to pay an entrance examination fee with the application. The completed application along with the documents and credentials should reach the Admission Committee within the specified time electronically through the internet (started since last entrance). Candidates will be selected on the basis of their merit acquired in their last degree and entrance examination. Provisions are made for normal fee, capitation fee and high tuition fee paying students. Special quota systems are allocated for female, Dalit, Muslim, Madhesi and Janajati/Aadddibasi students and designated class of the government. For admission in a PhD program students can submit an application together with a first draft research concept note anytime of the year clearly specifying the subject committee. The IOF Research Committee meets twice annually, first in the month January and the next in the month of July every year, for making decisions on accepting students for admission.
The evaluation of both the BSc and MSc is under a credit based semester system. Each subject is assigned certain credits. One credit unit, earned in 20 lecture hours or its equivalent work, carries 25 full marks. One lecture hour may normally require an hour lecture, three to five hours of laboratory work or its equivalent of field practical work. A BSc student will earn a total 132 credits and MSc student will earn a total of 60 credits. The 8th or final semester in BSc and 4th or final semester in MSc are fully dedicated to proposal, dissertation, seminar and thesis equivalent to 8 credits and 12 credits respectively. The mode of evaluation of the students is based on combination of methods where strong emphasis is laid on internal assessment, term paper, excursion, field exercise and final paper based examination in each semester. The students are required to make their written and oral presentation and defend their thesis work.
A number of research projects of short and long term duration have been in operation at the IOF since the inception of the undergraduate program in early 1980s. The projects that have phased out since the early 1990s until the recent past are namely the Infrastructure and Institutional Capacity Building of Institute of Forestry Project (IOFP) funded by USAID 1982-1995; Training and Manpower Development in Community Forestry Management funded by International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Japan 1994-2000; Conservation Leaders Memorial Centre of Excellence funded by Higher Education for Development, USAID 2008-2013; Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Himalayan Watersheds funded by Norwegian Universities Fund (NUFU), NORAD 2007-2012; Enhancing Livelihood and Food Security from Agroforestry and Community Forestry funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) 2013-2017; Community Based Forest Management in the Himalaya (ComForM Project) funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/DANIDA 2003-2014. Currently, Four Research projects are undergoing at the institute of Forestry. Major project activities that are in operation are highlighted below.
Four faculty strategic research grants have been awarded to the Pokhara Campus as well as Heatuda Campus.
Research Project 1: “Sustainable natural resource management for climate change adaptation in the Himalayan region: A collaborative project among Norway, Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan”
Duration: 5 years (start date January 1, 2014 - end date: December 31, 2019)
The project is a 5-year collaborative project among 5 institutions in 4 countries, namely, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway; Kathmandu University (main partner in the South), Institute of Forestry, TU, Nepal; Karakoram International University, Gilgit, Pakistan; and, College of Natural Resources, Royal University of Bhutan. It is an academic-cum-research capacity building and institutional strengthening project aimed at both North-South and South-South collaboration and exchange.
The project has 4 main components: Masters Education (develop new courses and course programs as well as update existing programs); PhD degree work (enroll 2 candidates each from among the faculty members at the South partner institutions at KU or IOF, TU); Post-doctoral research (provide post-doctoral fellowships to 3-4 candidates from the South partner institutions); and, Training/upgrading of administrative and technical staff (finance, library, ICT, and laboratory training). NORHED-IOF project has provided scholarship for 3 PhD candidates and partial scholarship for 10 Masters Students at IOF.