OVERVIEW

There are few places on earth that are as critical to conserving cultural, ethnic and biological diversity of global significance as the Eastern Himalaya in India. Comprising seven states—Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura—the region is extraordinarily rich in biological and cultural diversity, and is regarded as one of the 34 global hotspots of biodiversity. By serving as a watershed of the Indian subcontinent, the Eastern Himalaya mountain ranges act as a source of perennial water for people on the subcontinent of India. In addition to water, natural ecosystems of the Eastern Himalaya provide other crucial ecosystem services. Millions of people in the region sustain their livelihoods by using the biodiversity of local ecosystems.

Not only is there an urgent need to conserve the remaining biodiversity of the Eastern Himalaya, there is also a pressing need to describe and document this diversity. The region has not been fully explored, but whenever extensive surveys have been undertaken, new species have been discovered. The biological resources of the region, as mentioned earlier sustain local and regional economies. Biological diversity fully described and catalogued, can not only help in designing appropriate conservation measures, but also serve as an engine for future equitable and sustainable economic growth. Thus, exploration and description of dwindling biodiversity of one of the 34 global hotspots of biodiversity is of utmost importance to millions of people in the Eastern Himalaya.