The history of the National Forest Library and Information Centre has been running parallel to the history of the Forest Research Institute (FRI) since 1906. The library started with a few hundred books and a few periodical titles in English and German languages accommodated in a small room. However, upon shifting of the FRI to its newly constructed magnificent building on Chakrata Road in 1929 the library was provided with a sufficient space in the front wing next to the convocation hall, having all facilities that were required at that time. Later a separate building for the library was constructed on Chaturvedi Road in the campus and the library was shifted there to accommodate 1.5 lakh books and display about 300 current journal titles.
With the constitution of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India in the year 1986, the then Central Library of FRI was upgraded to National Forest Library and Information Centre (NFLIC), the acquisition of books and subscription to journals increased manifold. Besides, the NFLIC also started computerization of its operations. Several CD-ROM based bibliographical databases started being acquired. A new modern library building with all up-to-date facilities was constructed on the Pearson Road, and the NFLIC shifted therein in the year 2000.
The NFLIC adopted an open access system and installed electromagnetic security system for controlling pilferage of documents.
The major portion of the books in the NFLIC is, of course, related to forestry. But there is a large collection of documents on chemistry, biological sciences, agriculture, etc. There is an excellent Reference Section stocked with encyclopaedias, dictionaries, directories, handbooks and rare books, etc. Besides, it maintains a grey literature collection on forestry which comprises documents like theses and dissertations, research reports, conference proceedings, forest working plans, etc. which are neither formally published nor available commercially. The NFLIC maintain 7,025 Ledger Files containing research and other useful articles on different forest species, subjects, and countries.
The most remarkable of the journal titles in the collection are Transactions of the Zoological Society of London from the year 1835; Transactions of the Scottish Arboricultural Society from 1872; Transactions of the Linnean Society of London from 1875; Justus Leibig’s Annalen Der Chemie from 1880; Nature from 1873; Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry from 1882; and Indian Forester from 1875. The current journal titles include almost all the titles published on forestry from India and abroad and other important Indian and foreign journals on related subjects like agriculture, biological sciences, chemistry, etc. It also subscribes bibliographical databases like Forest Science on CD-ROM.
The NFLIC has computerized its housekeeping as well as information retrieval functions by designing integrated software, which has also facilitated the access of the NFLIC on-line. Besides, the NFLIC provides all other services to its user viz. reference, referral, circulation, reprography, inter-library loan, etc.
The marketing of the publications of FRI is an important activity. The NFLIC has been entrusted with the work of marketing of all the documents published by the institute.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India designated the NFLIC as ENVIS Centre on Forestry in the year 1997. The Centre has taken up the challenge and initiated a number of the services under the project.
1. Publication: The Centre publishes regularly ENVIS Forestry Bulletin, which is a half-yearly publication having articles on current issues of forestry, view point of eminent scholars on burning issues, biographical sketch of eminent conservationists, environmental ups and downs, internet resources on forestry, announcements of forthcoming conferences, seminars, training courses, comprehensive bibliography, and snippets on other useful pieces of information. Thematic issues of the bulletin on Mangroves, Forest Products, Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement, Medicinal Plants, Forest Seed Science and Technology, Forest Insect Pests and Diseases, Climate Change and Forests, Forestry Statistics, Forest Products Chemistry, Non-wood Forest Products, Poplars in India etc. have been published.
Another publication is Environment and Forests News Digest, which is a bimonthly publication containing articles and important new items on environment, forestry and wildlife selected from leading 20 English and Hindi language daily newspapers. These articles and news items also constitute a database: Environment and Forests in Press.
2. Databases: Realising the fact that adequate bibliographical control on the forestry literature was not there, the Centre started compiling bibliographical databases on Indian Forestry Abstracts, Participatory Forest Management, Prosopis juliflora, Poplars, and Environment and Forests in Press. These databases contain bibliographical details of references with abstracts.