Edward Burroughs Dwyer, son of Mr Justice Dwyer of the Cape Eastern Division Court, attended St Adrian's College, Grahamstown, from 1875 to 1881, then enrolled at the South African College, Cape Town, and passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope with honours in 1884. Continuing his studies at the South African College he obtained the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Literature and Philosophy in 1888. As a young man he was an active cricketer and horseman, and throughout his life remained physically fit. For a brief period he worked as registrar to his father in Grahamstown, but in search of a more active life entered the Cape Forestry Service as a probationer in August 1889 and in October that year was appointed district forest officer at Hogsback. Subsequently he served in the same position at Keismammahoek, and from June 1893 at Stutterheim, where he was stationed at the Kologha Forest Reserve.
In July 1898 Dwyer became district forest officer at Port Elizabeth, where he remained to 1913. There he completed the drift sand reclamation scheme initiated by Mr Joseph Storr Lister*, reclaiming about 4600 hectares over a period of 11 years. His outstanding service in this regard became well known in forestry circles. As an expert on sand fixation he was twice sent to South West Africa (now Namibia) in the period 1915-1916 (during World War I) to advise the South African military authorities on the control of sand drifts across the railway lines.
In November 1913 Dwyer was promoted to assistant conservator, and later conservator of forests, Transvaal. Three years later he was transferred to King William's Town as conservator for the Eastern Conservancy, where he remained to his retirement in 1926. Retaining his interest in forestry matters he visited Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as forestry consultant in 1927. The next year he published a valuable paper, "Notes on the reclamation of sand drifts" in the South African Journal of Science (Vol. 25, pp. 168-180).
Dwyer became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1912. At the association's annual congress in King William's Town in 1919 he served as joint secretary of Section C, which included forestry.