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Dietrich Brandis (1824–1907) : Botanist and Founder of the Science of Tropical Forestry

This is a translated version of the 2018 MIDA Archival Reflexicon entry “Dietrich Brandis (1824 – 1907) – Botaniker und Begründer der tropischen Forstwissenschaften”. The text was translated by Rekha Rajan.

Dietrich Brandis is known to many forestry scientists and some foresters as the founder of the science of tropical forestry. From 1856 till 1883 he was in British-India where he first studied the teak forests in Burma. From the time he became Inspector General of Forests in British-India in 1865, until his retirement from civil service, he was instrumental in establishing forestry in India.

However, owing to his work within the framework of the British Empire, Brandis is also known in Canada and Australia. Besides this, he is also known in the United States of America, where his expertise and advice contributed decisively to the development of forestry in the British Empire. Less well known is that Brandis was trained as a botanist and that he pursued his botanical interests throughout his life. The Brandis herbarium acquired by the Hamburg Senate in 1907 and integrated into the Institute for Plant Sciences and Microbiology of the University of Hamburg is an eloquent testimony to this.



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MIDA Archival Reflexicon


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