Arunachal Pradesh, which means "land of the dawn-lit mountains", is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists.
Arunachal Pradesh is a mysterious and magical land tucked away in the north eastern tip of India. The wide variety of altitudinal and climatic conditions has given rise to different forest types.
The climate varies from sub-tropical to alpine. Evergreen forest cover more than sixty percent of the state with its numerous turbulent streams, roaring and meandering rivers, deep gorges, beautiful mountains, snow clad shining peaks, hundreds and thousands of species of flora and fauna.
Various ethnic groups of north-eastern India have preserved and protected several forest patches and even individual trees or animals due to their traditional belief and respect for nature. Many sacred groves were reported from the states of Meghalaya and Manipur and from Karbi Anglong area of Assam, in north-eastern India. In Arunachal Pradesh a few of the sacred groves managed by Lamas and Mompa tribe,are attached to the Buddhist monasteries and they are called Gompa ForestAreas (GFAs).
These monasteries are mainly in West Kameng and Tawang districts of the
state and 58 GFAs were reported from these two districts and a few sacred groves from Lower Subansiri and Siang district of the state.
In a recent inventory, it is reported to have a total of 101 sacred groves. Most of the sacred groves are located at high altitudes in the state. Largest numbers (39) of them are located in the Tawang district followed by West Kameng (24) and Lohit (15) and only 2 in the Papumpare district.
Many of these sacred groves are attached to the ‘Gompa’ i.e., Buddhist monasteries and they are under the control of monasteries and conserved due to religious considerations. The forest dwelling tribes such as Bodo and Rabha, inhabiting the plains and foothills of Western Assam have the traditions of maintaining sacred groves which are locally called “Than”.
SOURCE : The Sacred Groves and Their Significance in Conserving Biodiversity
International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 34 (3): 277-291, 2008
© NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ECOLOGY, NEW DELHI