FLORA AND FAUNA OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH

 

 

Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be the “nature’s treasure trove” has a great potential in promoting nature tourism. Bio-geographically it is situated in the Eastern Himalayan province, the richest bio geographical province of the Himalayan zone.

 

The entire territory forms a complex hill system with varying elevations ranging from 50m in the foothills and gradually ascending to about 7000m, traversed throughout by a number of rivers and rivulets. Nature has been exceedingly kind and has endowed this beautiful state of Arunachal Pradesh 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. The state is ranked second among States and UTs in terms of area under forest cover.   

FLORA

 

The wide variety of altitudinal and climatic conditions has given rise to different forests types which create corresponding natural shelter, food, etc. to varieties of wildlife. Flora of Arunachal Pradesh exhibits an enormous diversity in nature. There are large numbers of timber species, various kinds of orchids, medicinal plants, ferns, bamboos, canes and cultivated plants. The state has many endangered species too. Orchids form a dominant group of plants in Arunachal Pradesh. Around 600 species of orchids are found in Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Some of the Orchids are rare and classified as endangered. Arunachal Pradesh Forest Development Corporation has established an Orchid Research and Development Station at Tipi in West Kameng district for propagation and conservation of these species. There are over 500 species of medicinal plants reported so far from Arunachal Pradesh. They can not only cure the aliments but can also be potential source of economy to the state. It can also open up avenues in cultivation, processing, packaging, marketing and industrial application. Arunachal Pradesh has many species of endangered, endemic, primitive and relict flora. Magnolia Pterocarpa is one such primitive angiosperm, which occurs in the foothills. Some rare and endangered flora that occurs in Arunachal Pradesh are:

 

Amentotazus assamica in Lohit District, Rhododendron arunachalense found in Subansiri District, Rhododendron Dalhousie and Tetracentron sinense, occurring in Kameng District, Rhododendron santapaul recorded in Subansiri District. The State harbors about 52 species of Rhododendrons, 18 species of Hedychium, 16 species of Qaks, 33 species of Conifers and a large number of ferns and lichens. 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.

 

Orchids in Arunachal Pradesh can also be classified into 140 species of terrestrial orchids with 15 saprophytes and about 340 epiphytes found in the different forest types. The prominent species are: Cymbidium Ansifolium, C Grandiflorum, Coelogyne corymbosa. Dendroblum aphylla, D fimbriatum var occulatum, D densiflorum, Calanthe masuca, Phaius flavus, Paphiopedilum, fairrieanum, P.venustum Renanthera imschootiana, Vanda coenulea, etc. Rhynchostylis retusa is the State flower of Arunachal Pradesh. Some of the most economical plants are Acorus, Andrographis, Aquilaria, Dioscorea, Oroxylum, Rauvolfia, Tinospora, Withania, etc. in low altitudes while for high altitudes it is Aconitum, Coptis, Gymnadaenia, Illicium, Panax, Picrorrhiza, Rubia, Taxus, etc.

 

These are described below:

 

  • acorAcorus Calamus- Boch, Vacha, Vayambu: This perennial herb of marshy habitats is easy to cultivate through rhizome cuttings in tropical and sub-tropical zones. The tubers are traded as it is reputed as brain tonic, coolant and drug for colic. It has high demand in the market. Commercial production from 3rd year.

 

 

 

 

 

  • AndrographisAndrographis Paniculate- Kalmegh, Chiraita Teeta: This bitter annual herb has hepato protective properties and is an anthelmintic and liver tonic. It is a blood purifier too. The whole plant is used, it is one of the high demand species propagated through seeds and ideal for open or partial shade localities in low altitudes. Crop ready in 4-6 months.

 

 

 

 

 

  • aquiAquilaria Agallocha- Agar, Sasi, Indian Eagle wood: this tropical deciduous tree is very valuable for its transformed wood which on distillation yields Agar oil which has high export value. Cultivation is through seed raised seedlings. Suitable for both open and partial shade. Artificial induction of agar in live trees is possible. Takes 8-20 years of agar development.

 

 

 

 

 

  • diosDioscorea floribunda- Kham alu: This is a tropical climber with underground tubers and bulbils. The tubers yields diosgeninan alkaloid used in pharmaceuticals. Propagation is through pieces of tubers and bulbils. Farming of this species is profitable. Inter cropping is also possible. Production from first year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • oroOroxylum Indicum- Bhatghilla, Jigat: This deciduous tree is naturally seen in the secondary forests in the tropics. It is in high demand now a day for its bark used for tanning and as medicine for fever and many other ailments and as tonic. Propagation is through seeds. Bark ready, by 10 years, can be harvested sustainably through scientific methods.

 

 

 

 

 

  • pipriPiper longum- Pipli, Piper Brachystachyum, Pmullesua, P. peepuloides-Round Pipli: Climbers or under shrubs. An important medicinal plant of Ayurveda. Fruits are collected and traded, for which excellent scope of marketing exist. Ideal for under planting and for partially shaded areas. Multiplication through suckers, stem, cuttings and seeds. Harvest expected from 2nd to 4th year.

 

 

 

 

 

  • rauRauvolfia serpeutina- Sarpagandha: This perennial under shrub can be cultivated in the low altitudes in open as well as shady areas. The roots are reputed for the treatment of blood pressure. Roots ready to harvest from second years onwards. Propagation through seeds and stem cuttings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • guduchiTinospora cordfolia- Amrit Lata, Guduchi:  This is a tropical climber which is used as a tonic and vitaliser. The stem is used for drug manufacture and traded. Ideal for multiplier plantation. It is high demand propagated through stem cuttings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • ashwaWithania somnifera- Aswagandha:  An herbaceous perennial plant, reputed as Indian Ginseng and used for vitality and vigor. Can be cultivated in open and shady areas which are well drained and dry. The roots have great marketing potential. Propagation through seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • AconitumAconitum ferox, Aconitum hetero-phylum- Atish, Aconite:  Perennial herbs of alpine and sub alpine habitats. Usually in open places, roots used for medicine. Very good market prospects for the roots and tubers, Multiplication through seeds and tubers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • coptisCoptis teeta- Mishmi teeta:  This is a temperate herb found only in Arunachal Pradesh. It can be cultivated as under planting. Propagation is through seeds. The roots are sold for treatment of variety of diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Gymnadenia orchidisGymnadaenia archidis- Panch Hath, Salam pancha:  This annual herbaceous orchid produces high value medicinal tubers which are general tonic. Ideal is open places in alpine localities propagation through tubers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • illuIllicium griffuhii- Lissi:  This is a high altitude tree valued for its fruits. The fruits are used as spices and medicines. Multiplication is through seeds and branch cuttings. Ideal for mixed plantations. Has good market potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • panaxPanax sikkimensis, Panax spp. - Ginseng:  Perennial herbs with tubers. Grows in temperate and sub temperate zones. Ideal for cultivation as under planting. The tubers are highly priced and have high demand. This is a rejuvenating general tonic. Propagation through seeds and tubers. Harvest by 4-8 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PicrorrhizaPicrorrhiza kurroa- Kutki:  This is a stem less perennial herb of alpine habitats. It is in high demand for a variety of herbal medicines. Can be grown in open localities and grasslands. Propagation is through seeds and suckers. Much rate in nature. Rhizome ready by 4th year.

 

 

 

 

 

  • rubiaRubia cordfolia- Manjista:  This is a perennial climber with four leaves of each node. It yields orange/red dye. It is high demand species in the medicinal plant market. Ideal for sub-tropical and temperate zones. Prefers shady localities but possible to grow in open too. Propagation through seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • taxusTaxus Baccata- Yew:  It is a temperate conifer tree. The leaves yield costly taxol. Ideal for cultivation in high altitudes as mixed planting and propagation is through seeds. Easier to multiply through stem cuttings. Has very high demand in market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • tokoToko (Palm Tree):  Toko belongs to the family Arecaceae (Palme). This beautiful palm is found only in the northeast region of the country. It is distributed in the tropical belt and grows in lower plains and hill slopes. The people have been using this species since time immemorial. It is extensively used in the state. It is also of cultural importance to the people of the state particularly to the interior and far flung areas. This multipurpose tree provides different utility items like the leaves, fiber and fruits. It has great potential of income generation and rural employment. The silviculture aspects of the plants are discussed in the following section which may be useful in farming and management of this valuable natural resource.                                                                           
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FAUNA

 

Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only state which shelters four major cats i.e. tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard and also rare lesser feline species like the Golden Cat and marbled cat. Seven species of primates i.e. Hoolock Gibbon, Slow Loris, Assamese Macaque, stump tailed macaque and Capped Langur also occur in the forests of the State. 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 found in low grassy areas of the State. Among the smaller mammals several Rodents (squirrel, porcupine and rats), Civets, mongoose, linsang, shrew and bat species are also to be found. On higher elevations, animals like goral, Himalayan Black Bear, red panda, are met with in various parts of the state. Over 500 bird species inhabit Arunachal Pradesh including some endangered and endemic ones like, white winged wood duck, Sclater’s Monal, Temmincks Tragopan, black necked crane, Mishmi wren and Bengal florican.

The “Mithun” (Bos Frontails) exist both in wild and semi-domesticated form. This animal has religious significance and intimate relation with socio-cultural life of the people. Traditionally, the Mithun is a unit of wealth and is allowed to move freely in Jungle till it is either used for food on festive occasions and marriage feasts, or for barter.

Arunachal Pradesh is also the happy home of the great Indian Hornbill- the set extraordinary bird with an inordinately large beak which is also the state bird. The white winged wood duck, a rare endangered species, has been sheltered in Namdapha National Park.

 

Status and Biogeography of Primates in Arunachal Pradesh:-

 

slowSlow Loris: - The slow loris is a type of macaque which is available in all parts of the state. Mainly at a height of 800-900 m in the tropical dense forest. The scientific name for this species is Nycticebus Coucang. There is no correct data available to know its status in the state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RhesusRhesus Macaque: - This species of macaque are the most common type of macaque, scientifically known as Macaca mulatta. These are found in the low-lying region at the foothills at an altitude of 1000 m in all major vegetation types. Rhesus of Arunachal Pradesh are very shy and secretive and does not like to come in contact with the human beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

assamese macAssamese Macaque: - Assamese Macaque are scientifically called as Macaque assamensis. These are the second most common macaque of Arunachal Pradesh. Assamese macaque are available in all kind of dense forest present in the foothills to the forests present at a height of 2000m. These species are under constant threat of vanish due to construction and damage to their natural habitat. Some of their body parts are also used as decorative items.

 

 

 

 

 

stumpedStumped-tailed Macaque: - Stumped-tailed Macaque which are scientifically called as Macaque. Arctoides found mostly in the tropical wet evergreen and tropical semi-evergreen most forests of Tirap, Changlang and Lohit Districts stretches up to south bank of Lohit River. Sometimes they can be visible in the Namdapha National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pigPig-tailed macaque: - Pig-tailed macaque are rarely visible in the tropical rain forests of Tirap and Changlang districts. These are scientifically known as Macaque nemestrina. These animals are mainly restricted to Namdapha National Park. Their existence is also in danger due to deforestation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

snubSnub-nosed Monkey: - Scientifically known as Rhinopithecus roxellanae. These are found in the high altitude area, adjacent to China such as Tawang district and Vijoynagar Circle of Changlang district bordering China and Myanmar. However sometimes they are also visible in the Dibang Valley and Upper Siang District. Their existence is in great danger due to the Jishu Tribe residing in the mountainous region of the Vijoynagar Circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

hoolockHoolock Gibbon: - The only ape species in India, scientifically called as Bunopithecus Hoolock. They are mostly found in the state’s southern and eastern part. They are mostly available in the dense tropical semi-evergreen, wet evergreen and moist deciduous forests of Tirap, Changlang, Lohit and Dibang Valley districts. This form of primate is also found in the south and east bank of the Dibang-Brahmaputra rivers. They can also be seen in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve and Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary in group.

 

 

 

 

 

crappedCapped Langur: - These are one of the common species of macaque scientifically known as Trachypithecus pileatus. They are found through the state, mostly in the tropical semi-evergreen, moist evergreen and deciduous forests except the land in between Siang River and Dibang River. They are also in danger due to deforestation and poaching for food and medicinal purpose.