Forest Based Livelihoods
The forests in the North Eastern Region are extremely diverse in structure and composition, combining tropical and temperate forest types, alpine meadows and cold deserts. After the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Western Ghats, the forests in the region NER forest form the main region of tropical forests in India, especially the species-rich tropical rain forests. This region also boasts of several endemics in flora as well as fauna and along with the Western Ghat region, is among the four recognized global biodiversity hotspots in the country (Conservation International 2006). With about 1,67,000 sq km area of this region under forest cover, it accounts for a rich floral biodiversity, of which nearly one-third is endemic to the region. About 40% of the total flora of the country is represented in this region. The region is home to a large variety of economically useful medicinal and aromatic plants, fruit and food producing trees, oilseeds, fodder, bamboo and canes, dyes and spices, orchids and other flowering plants. However, there is an urgent need for actions that promote conservation and sustainable use of the region’s fragile forests. While indigenous communities in the hill states have constitutional provisions over safeguarding most of the forest, they have little external support to carry out this critical task especially in the face of conflict between conservation and livelihoods.
Initiatives in this area will try to aim at enabling communities to develop resource management plans that address bio-diversity conservation and livelihood issues. NEIDA will develop and implement projects that aim at awareness building or activities aimed at conservation of natural resources. Programmes that at the same time generate livelihoods for the rural communities will be prioritized.