Congratulating the Indian Forest Service Probationers for clearing the exam, former President Pranab Mukherjee urged them protect the forest of the nation, as they are "special for Indian ethos and culture".

Mukherjee told the officers that they had chosen a very noble profession and that the onus of protecting the spiritual and cultural heritage embosomed in forests lay with them.

"You have chosen a very noble profession. Forests have always been special to Indian ethos and culture. Our civilisation has derived its intellectual and spiritual strength from forests.

"These forests, therefore, are not merely a resource but they also cover the cultural, spiritual and intellectual heritage of the country," he said.

The world is becoming aware of the dangers of environmental degradation that has threatened the very survival of the humankind, the former President said and added that forests are instrumental in restoring the balance of nature and subvert the effects of global warming. 

"In the past few decades, the world has woken up to threats to the very survival of humankind due to environmental degradation, depletion in forest cover and above all global warming leading to climate change.

"That is why the environment has become a key concern for the 21st century. And forests are an integral part of the solution," he said.