There is a long series of episodes behind the formation of the district itself. During the division of Northern Circars into districts, Eluru was made a part of the Machilipatnam district. Later, it was included in the Godavari District in 1859. Subsequently, Eluru made part of the Krishna District. Finally in the year 1925, West Godavari District was formed with Eluru as its Headquarters and all the District Offices and Regional Offices were setup in Eluru Town.
In the district the total forest area is 81,200 hectares, forming 10.49% of the total geographical area of the district. The Eluru Forest Division came into being with effect from 01.12.1963. This Division was formed by amalgamating the old Eluru and Jangareddigudem ranges in West Godavari District of erstwhile Godavari Lower Division and whole of Krishna District excluding Nagayalanka section of Repalle range of old Guntur division and Tiruvur Taluk which was then under Khammam division. The major forest types found here are- mixed deciduous forest, dry deciduous forest, scrub forests, southern thorn forests, and dry evergreen scrub forests.
Agriculture forms the chief means of livelihood for a majority of the population, and above 70 percent of the workers are engaged in agriculture and allied activities. Nearly 37 percent of the population living in rural areas depends, upon agriculture for its livelihood. A number of crops are grown here. Chief among them are paddy, tobacco, sugarcane and chillies. The chief source of irrigation for these crops is canals. Tube wells and tanks come next in the order of source of irrigation. The normal annual rainfall of the district is 1076.2 mm. Most of the rainfall is received during the south-west monsoon.