The journey of ICFRE was initiated way back towards the end of the nineteenth century with the advent of scientific forestry in India and the establishment of the Forest School in Dehradun in 1878. It was on 5th June 1906 subsequently that the Imperial Forest Research Institute was founded by Government of India for taking forward forestry research in the country. In 1986 the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education or ICFRE was formed as an umbrella organisation for taking care of forestry research, education and extension needs of the country. Finally on 1st June 1991, the ICFRE was declared an autonomous Council under the then Ministry of Environment and Forests and registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Presently, ICFRE with its Headquarters at Dehradun is an apex body in the national forestry research system that promotes and undertakes need based forestry research extension
The Council has a pan India presence with its 9 Regional Research Institutes and 5 Centers in different bio-geographical regions of the country. Each Institute has a history of its own and under the umbrella of ICFRE are directing and managing research, extension and education in forestry sector in the states under their jurisdiction. The regional research Institutes are located at Jodhpur, Dehradun, Shimla, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Ranchi, Bengaluru, Jorhat and Jabalpur, and the centres are at Agartala, Aizawl, Allahabad, Chhindwara and Visakhapatnam.