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The Forest Department was one of the earliest government agencies to be established in the State of Brunei. The principal role of the forests in the early economic development of the country necessitated the creation of a Forest Office in March 1933, based in Kuala Belait, where most harvesting of forest produce was undertaken. Later on, extraction of timber and other forest produce moved towards the eastern portion of the country, particularly in the mangrove forest, and the hill forests in Temburong. Thus, the headquarters of the Department was transferred to Brunei Town, now Bandar Seri Begawan, in 1954.

In 1986, the Forest Research Center was established in Sungai Liang in the Belait District. This was subsequently expanded to also serve all field operations of the Department, thus becoming the Brunei Forestry Center at Sungai Liang in 1992. During the same year, the Forestry Headquarters in Jalan Roberts, Bandar Seri Begawan moved to Plaza Athirah, a private building in Seri Commercial Complex.

The Forestry Department was under the Ministry of Development until the creation of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources in 1989. This Ministry consists of departments of Fisheries, Agriculture, Forestry, and the Industry Units Buildings. The new building of the Ministry at Jalan Menteri Besar in Bandar Seri Begawan was completed in 1995, and by March 1996 the Forestry Department HQ moved to that building.

Currently, the Forestry Department is under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. The Ministry was recently established on 22nd October of 2015. This establishment signifies His Majesty's aspirations to enhance the growth of the primary resources sectors (namely agriculture, fisheries and forestry) as well as the tourism sector in Brunei Darussalam. The growth of these sectors will have a direct and significant contribution to the sustainable economic growth and achieving Brunei Vision 2035. ​​