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Abstract: increasing population there is pressure exerted on

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 Abstract: The North – East is the land
of green belt of India, so called land of forest and tribal’s, the entire north
–east region is rich in its natural resources 
such as oil , natural gas, minerals and most importantly valuable
forests. Assam and other seven states including Sikkim consists the whole
landmass of north eastern India. The north eastern region which was almost an
eco friendly region with maximum rainfall every year, green trees and green
pasture everywhere is no longer a tourist destination. Though the north –east region
is industrially backward region, the existing industries, deforestation and
floods are causing serious problems to the environment in the region.
Environment of Northeastern region of India is subjected to degradation due to
plundering attitude of man, and that is 
a  point of great concern today.
The important factors influencing landscape changes could be climate, geology,
topography and plant succession and species extinction and species evolution.
Human, since time immemorial, have influenced the landscape they live in a
variety of ways resulting in varied land use changes. Increase in population
leads to the expansion in agriculture land, built up areas, uncontrolled forest
fires, mining of minerals, extraction of timber and permanent plantations,
which in turn are responsible for habitat degradation and loss of
biodiversity.Garo hills of district Meghalaya are endowed with rich
biodiversity both in terms of flora and fauna. With the increasing population
there is pressure exerted on these natural resources for the livelihood as
there is hardly any alternative available. In the meantime small forest based
urban centers were developed and with the expansion of these the requirement of
the local people also changed. Due to urbanization and population pressure the
traditional shifting cultivation (jhum), which is still the only livelihood of
many areas of the Garo hills; have been converted into permanent cash crop
areas. This conversion has reverse impact on the environment. In the
traditional jhumming method the native forests which were slashed and burned
for agricultural purposes could revive in 18 to 20 years time (jhum cycle). But
due to the introduction of economically sound plantation crops like areca nut,
cashew nut and tea the native diversity of the forest area is on the verse of
extinction. The present study reveals that anthropogenic factors are solely
responsible for  causing extreme harm to
the diversity of north eastern region.

Introduction: The Northeastern
region ,comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh,Assam,
Manipur,Meghalaya,Mizoram,Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura can be physiologically
divided intothe eastern Himalaya, the northern hills ,Brahamputra and Barak
valley plains. At the confluence of Indo –Malayan and Paleartic biogeographic
realms, the rgion contains a profusion of habitats characterised by diverse
biota with high leval of endemism(table 1).The region ia also the abode of
approximately225 of India’s tribes,the culture and customs of which have an
importantrole in understanding biodiversity conservation and management issues.
The immense biodiversity of North eastern region has made it a priority area
for investment by the leading conservation agencies of the world. For example,
WWF has identified the entire western Himalaya as a priority global 2000
ecoregion; and consevation international has subsumed its eastern himalaya
hotspot into a wider  Indo – Burma
hotspot, which now inculdes all the eight states of Northeast India along with
the neighbouring territories of Bhutan ,Southern China,and Mynmar(Myers and
others 2000).The richness of the region’s avi fauna largely reflects the
diversity of habitats associated with a wide altitudinal range.Northeast India
supports one of the biggest bird diversities in the Orient, with about 850 bird
species. The eastern himalaya and the Assam plains have been identified as an
endemic bied areaby Royal Society for the protection of birds (Bibby and others
1992). The global distribution of 24 restricted range species is limited to the
region. The region’s lowland and mountain moist to wet tropical evergreen
forests are considered to be the northnmost limit of true tropical rainforests
in the world( Proctor, Haridasan and Smith 1998).According to the Indian Red
Data book published by the botanical survey of India, 10 percent of the total
floweing plants in the country are endangered. Of of the 1500 endangered floral
species , 800 are reported from northeast India(Nayar and Sastry
1987,1988,1990; Ahmedullah and others 1990).High biological diversity is often
related to the forest cover of a region. Most of the northern states have more
than 60 percent of their geographical area under forest cover, a minimum
suggested coverage for the hill states in the country. The  percentage of forest cover recorded during the
assisments in 2001 and  2003 by the
Forest Survey of India is shown in table 2.

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Table: 1. Species richness in
northeast Indian states

state

Species
richness( flowering plants)

Arunachal
Pradesh

±5000

Sikkim

±4500

Meghalaya

±3500

Assam

±3010

Manipur

±2500

Nagaland

±2250

Mizoram

±2200

Tripura

±1600

 

 

 

 

Table : 2. Forest cover in northeast India, 2001 and 2003

states

Geographical area of the state

Forest cover in 2003

Percentage forest cover in state (2003)

Forest cover in 2001

Percentage forest cover in  state (2001)

Arunachal pradesh

83743

68019

81.22

68045

81.25

Assam

78438

27826

35.47

27714

35.33

Manipur

22237

17219

77.43

16926

76.11

Meghalaya

22429

16839

75.08

15584

69.48

Mizoram

21081

18430

87.42

17494

82.98

Nagaland

16579

13609

82.09

13345

80.49

Sikkim

7096

3262

45.97

3193

44.99

Tripura

10486

8093

77.18

7065

67.37

x

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