The institute came into existence on 27th June, 1963, for the scientific development of forestry sector in the state following the impetus generated by the recommendations of tenth silvicultural conference held at Dehradun in 1961. It was granted autonomy on 29th October, 1994 and was registered on 2nd August, 1995 as a society under M.P. Societies Registration Act 1973. Over the years the institute has developed as an educational, training, research and consultancy organization at the state and national level. The institute is carrying out adaptive and applied research programmes. It is dedicated to research and tropical forestry, environment and biodiversity conservation. The vision of SFRI is to function as nodal centre of research in forestry and to provide scientific support to the state and its peoples on matters related to forestry, with particular emphasis on conservation, sustainable utilization and scientific management of natural resources. The institute conducts multidisciplinary research, provides technical advice to practical problems. It also disseminates research findings through training, education, seminars, workshops, public fairs and consultancy services, technical bulletins, series of pamphlets, brochures and two quarterly journals namel ‘Vaniki Sandesh’ and ‘Van-Dhan Vyapar’. ‘Vaniki Sandesh’ contains papers and articles of practical importance and also on research findings of the projects of the institute which can be applied and adopted in the field. Journal of Tropical Forestry is also published from the institute campus by Society for Tropical Forestry Scientists comprising senior forest officers and scientists from the state and all over the country. The journal carries technical research papers, articles and research recommendations of forestry projects undertaken by various organizations.

The institute is located at N 23007’.380’ latitude and E 0790 55’.923 longitude at Jabalpur in a lush green campus spread over a sprawling area of about 102 ha. The region of Jabalpur has close proximity to two major forest types, namely sal and teak forests of Madhya Pradesh and four protected areas (PA’s) namely Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Satpuda. This unique location rendered it suitable for the creation of this institute here. It houses a rich infrastructure of various research and experimental plots, research nursery, ornamental nursery, clonal nursery, medicinal and aromatic plants nursery, rose garden, seasonal garden, gene-bank, glass-house, mist-chambers, shade-net houses, botanical garden, bambusetum, tissue culture, soil and seed testing laboratories along with administrative block, conference halls, lecture room, museum, herbarium, auditorium, library and documentation centre, guest house, officers’ rest house, etc. The institute also has various types of residential accommodation for its employees inside the campus.