State Forest Department came into existence in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1881 when J. C. Mc. Donald was appointed the first ever Conservator of Forests of the state. He started the process of consolidation and demarcation of forests. In 1923, H. L. Wright was appointed as the first Chief Conservator of Forests. Scientific forest management and reorganization of Forest Department took place during this period and all forests of the state were brought under the purview of working plans.
Prime contribution of natural forests is towards maintenance of ecological balance, conservation of bio-diversity, regulation of hydrological regime, promotion of soil and water conservation, climate regulation, carbon sequestration and nutrient recycling. Forests of the state are renowned the world over for their scenic charm and aesthetics. These also contribute directly or indirectly for sustaining agriculture, horticulture, animal and sheep husbandry, fisheries, water supply, power generation, industry, herbal medicines and tourism.