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Situated on the northeastern tip of the country, the state of Arunachal Pradesh is a part of Eastern Himalayan Ranges located between 26º 28’ to 29º30, N latitudes and 91º 30’ to 97º30’ E longitudes. Arunachal Pradesh occupies the largest area (83.743 Sq. Km) in the northeastern region of India, and consists of mountainous ranges sloping to the plains of Assam. The diversity of topographical and climatic condition has favoured the growth of luxuriant forests, which are home to myriad plant and animal forms, adding beauty to the landscape. Living in this incredible cradle of nature are the colorful and vibrant tribes of Arunachal Pradesh for whom the forests and wildlife are of special significance. The total human population of 8,64,558 (1991 census) lives in 3649 villages and small towns. The cattle population of the State is 9 lakhs (1991 census). Livelihoods of local people have been 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. As per State of Forest Report, 1999 of Forest Survey of India, about 82% of total geographical area of 83,740 sq. kms., which is about 62% of the total geographical area and includes 10185.40 sq. km. of Reserve & Protected Forests which is about 12% of the area while the Protected Area Network covers and area of 9527.99 sq. km being 12% of the area and balance 38% is Unclassified Forest. The important forests types found in the state are Tropical evergreen, semi evergreen, deciduous, Pine, Temperate, Alpine and grassland etc. Forests are the mainstay for the people of Arunachal Pradesh and are the richest biogeographical province in eastern Himalayan zone. The State has 20% species of country’s fauna, 4500 species of flowering plants, 400 species of pteridophytes, 23 species of conifers, 35 species of bamboos, 20 species of canes, 52 Rhododendron species & more than 500 species of orchids and is considered as one of the 12 mega diversity “Hot Spots” in the world. Forests generate the largest employment and are the single largest source of revenue for the State. Supreme Court had imposed certain restrictions on felling of trees in 1996, which has affected the revenue resources of the State. The Supreme Court has since allowed timber operations but has directed threat regeneration should be commensurate to the felling, and State Govt. is to ensure availability of sufficient funds for regeneration. 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. However, of late, forests have been adversely affected by several factors, which include rapid increase in human & livestock population, insufficient infrastructure, and diversion of forest areas for development activities. 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 gives priority to conservation of forests and biodiversity. The derivation of economic benefit has been subordinated to the principal aim.
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