Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh (Arun means sun, achal for rays) is aptly named as it is the land of the rising sun. The dawn breaks here every day by 4.30 am. This hidden land of the past is the largest of the eight Northeastern states. Yet, the population density in some of its districts in less than 100!

Arunachal has a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley in the south. Therefore, the major occupants are Mangoloid and Tibeto –Burmese tribes, the main being Apatanis, Kamptis, Padmad and the Miris. Mostly they are Buddhist and Vaishnavites by religion and they adore Mithun, believed to be the offspring of cow and buffalo.

Arunachal is historically famous for a divine and unique area called Parshuram-Kund. The Parshuram-Kund is an important holy place for the Hindus. It is situated at the deep gorge of River Lohit and is visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Bio-geographically, Arunachal Pradesh is situated in the Eastern Himalayan province, which is the richest biogeographical province of the Himalayan zone. The entire territory forms a complex hill system with varying elevations ranging from 50 m in the foot-hills and gradually ascending to about 7000 m, traversed throughout by a number of rivers and rivulets. This shallow deep green forest hills celebrates summer seasons with flowers and orchids. Over 500 varieties of orchids is said to be found in Arunachal Pradesh. The landscape of green woods all around makes the tribal dwell with the rare species of wild animals amidst this pristine forest.

The tribes of Arunachal Pradesh have their own festivals associated mainly with animal husbandry and to seek blessings from God and to pay Him gratitude of good harvest. Some of the important festivals are Solung, Mopin, Losar, Boori Boot, Dree, Nechi Dau, Khan, Kshyat-Sowai, Loku, Longte Yullo, Mol, Nyokum, Ojiale, Reh, Sanken, Si-Donyi and Tamladu. These festivals are celebrated with folk tribal dance and music.

The ‘Solung’ festival of ‘Adis’ is a five day feast for seeking happiness and prosperity. It is celebrated in order to have a plentiful harvest, to raise more mithuns and pigs and also to be free from natural casualties and calamities. Celebrated by the Gallong community of Adis there is another festival ‘Mopin’, which is celebrated to avoid natural calamities, epidemics evil effects of bad spirits and for good yield, health, wealth and prosperity. A grand celebration lasts for five days in the month of April.

Nature has been exceedingly kind and has endowed Arunachal with diverse forests and magnificent wildlife. The richness of life forms i.e. the flora and fauna that occur in these forests presents a panorama of biological diversity with over 5000 plants, about 85 terrestrial mammals, over 500 birds and a large number of butterflies, insects and reptiles.  Such an unparalleled occurrence of life forms can be attributed to the peculiar location of the State which is at the junction of the Paleoarctic, Indo-Chinese, and Indo-Malayan bio-geographic regions , Biotic elements from all these regions occur in this state making it very rich in floral and faunal resources

The vegetation of Arunachal Pradesh falls under four broad climatic categories and can be classified in five broad forest types with a sixth type of secondary forests.  These are tropical forests, sub tropical forests, pine forests, temperate forests and alpine forests.  In the degraded forests bamboos and other grasses are of common occurrence.

Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only State which has four major cats, i.e. tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Lesser cats like the golden cat, leopard cat and the marbled cat are also found here. And also this is the only state where all the three goat antelopes occurring in India, i.e. serow, goral and takin are found. The highly endangered hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus) is also found in low grassy areas of the state. Arunachal Pradesh has many species of endangered, endemic, primitive and relict flora. Magnolia pterocarpa is one such primitive angiosperm, which occurs in the foot-hills.

Forests generate the largest employment and are the single largest source of revenue for the State. Livelihoods of local people is closely linked and heavily dependent on forest resources since time immemorial. However, with increasing population, development activities, large number of wood-based industries and unsustainable land use practices like jhuming, the pressure on forest resources is consistently increasing leading to their degradation affecting regeneration and productivity.

The forestry sector has traditionally been one of the most organized sectors with more than a century old tradition of scientific management. From ancient times forests have played a very important role in social economic and religious activities of the local people. Several other problems unique to forestry sectors are inadequate public awareness about multiple roles of forests, low investments in forestry, sectors are inadequate public awareness about multiple roles of forests, low investments in forestry, inadequate people’s participation, technological weakness and insufficient funds and facilities.

To obviate the crisis facing the forestry, the National forest policy was revised in 1988 with the principal aim to bring in focus the importance of forests for environmental stability & ecological balance including atmospheric equilibrium, which are vital for sustenance of all life forms-human, animals & plants, by conserving the natural heritage of the country. The policy now gives priority to conservation of forests and biodiversity.

This information has been put together by half a dozen interns. Care has been taken for ensuring the accuracy of the information. However, any conflict or misinformation can be reported to mail(at)negreens.com