The present Forest Soil & Land Reclamation Division was incepted as Soil Section under Silviculture in 1938. It was located in the erstwhile Northern Forest Rangers College building. In the year 1972, the Soil Section was upgraded to Forest Soils Branch and shifted to the new building, where it is now located. The branch was devoted to the research on soil physical, chemical and mineralogical investigations. When a central sector scheme (C-3) Forest Soil cum Vegetation Survey (FSVS) was implemented in 1975, Soil Section started functioning in two independent groups (Soil Section and FSVS) by the existing staff and facilities of the time. The FSVS Scheme was executed independently under a Coordinator that continued till 1984. In 1999, Forest Ecology Brach was merged in Soil Section and came as Forest Ecology and Conservation Division. However, the Forest Ecology Branch was separated in year 1990 as Ecology and Environment Division and this division was organized as Forest Soil & Land Reclamation Division.
Researches on forest soils started in the institute in the early forties and the emphasis was mainly on characterization of forest soils in the Himalayan region. The characteristics of soils under different vegetations were investigated. Field surveys for investigating mortality of important forest species from soils point of view were carried out. Comprehensive soil/site data forms designed for helping field studies was a unique approach to the forest soil studies that is being followed ever since. Impact of raising monoculture of tree species was assessed in the Doon Valley condition and the changes in the soil physical, chemical and biological properties were worked out keeping the naturalized soil under the natural sal forest as the benchmark.
This division has published 600 research publications including papers in different National and International journals, Paper presented in National and International workshops, Project reports, Chapters in Books etc.