Eastern Himalaya

Trees of Arunachal Pradesh

Nature in Focus

Documentation of biodiversity is one of the main purposes in ecological studies. Writing any taxonomic guide (flora, monograph, pictorial guidebook) is a step forward for documentation, and in biodiverse countries like India, such guides make further biodiversity studies easier. While floras or monographs are useful for taxonomists/scientists, pictorial field guides can help a layperson in learning and identifying trees.

North-east India is one of the rich biodiverse areas in India, but floristically, it is still less explored and documented. The location is at the interface of Himalayan and Indo-Burma biogeographical realms. Interactions among factors like wide elevation gradient with variable climatic condition and topography makes it the most plant-diverse area in India. However, apart from a few regional floras and plant monographs, there is no comprehensive pictorial field guide for identification of common trees from this part of India. With our field guide of trees, we hope that nature and plant enthusiasts as well as visitors can learn, identify and engage with the trees around the low elevation forests of Arunachal Pradesh. Many tree species covered in the book also occur in low-elevation forests of Assam and other parts of North-east India, while some also occur in other parts of mainland India.

THE BOOK: Trees of Arunachal Pradesh: A Field Guide

Authors: Navendu Page, Aparajita Datta and Bibidishananda Basu
Design: Kadambari Misra; Janhavi Rajan
Plant Illustrations: Meena Subramaniam
Glossary/Key illustrations: Janhavi Rajan; Saniya Chaplod

The book is authored by three experienced field biologists, bringing their collective experience of two decades in field botany and forest ecology of North-east India.

This 591-page photographic field guide to the Trees of Arunachal Pradesh features more than 1500 photos of 241 species of trees, shrubs, and a few climbers. ‘Keys’ provided in the book help the reader navigate through pages and to the species identity. These ‘keys’ are based on easily observable characters such as leaves, flowers, and fruits. These keys help with the comparison of species that are similar looking, thus helping to get past the lookalikes and identify the plant of interest quickly.

The species pages which form the bulk of the book, give an account of the species’ ecology and utility, along with images of the plant parts and its global conservation status. There is an exhaustive index of vernacular names used in several different local languages, that can also guide you to find the correct species of interest. There is also a scientific name index with the authority.

All these user-friendly and aesthetic features make this book an attractive resource for botany students, naturalists, plant explorers, and tree watchers as well as researchers, field staff of the Forest Department and the people of Arunachal Pradesh and more widely in the North-eastern region of India.

Errata:

1) The species Ficus punctata is misidentified, correct species is Ficus fistulosa.

2) The species Helixanthera parasitica is misidentified, correct species is Helixanthera ligustrina.

3) For Platea latifolia, in the species description, the leaf arrangement should be alternate while it is written as opposite.

4) For Tabernaemontana divaricata, in the species description, the leaf arrangement should be opposite while it is written as alternate.

5) Page 55: Leaf Key: Beilschmiedia assamica 12-18; it is written as pg. 114.

This should be pg.144

6) Leaf description of Bischofia javanica is missing in the species page.