The City Biodiversity Index (CBI) of Itanagar was released recently by Shri Tame Passang, Hon’ble Mayor, Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC), in the presence of Shri Tayek Goi, Hon’ble Chairperson, Arunachal Pradesh Biodiversity Board (APBB) and other dignitaries, including Shri Ngilyang Tam, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; Ms. Koj Rinya, IFS, Member Secretary, APBB; and Shri Likha Teji, Commissioner, IMC.
ICLEI South Asia provided technical expertise to APBB for preparing the CBI, which has been developed in accordance with the Secretariat on the Convention of Biological Diversity (SCBD) endorsed user’s manual for the preparation of CBIs.
Spread over 51.69 sq.km., Itanagar is the capital city of the state of Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. The city is home to about 30% of the state’s urban population, and is its largest urban agglomeration with a planning area of 271 sq.km. It has abundant natural wealth in the form of lush green hills, valleys, and rivers owing to its geographical location. Gekar Sinyik (Ganga Lake), on the city’s outskirts, is a natural lake surrounded by a landmass of hard rock. It is a picnic and recreational spot with primeval vegetation, orchids masses on tall trees and tree ferns.
ICLEI South Asia developed a land use/ land cover map (LULC) to identify the city’s major land use patterns. The map suggested that 41% of the city’s area is covered with forests, followed by a 25% built-up area. A land classification scheme was also prepared based on detailed GPS field surveys and expert consultation. Using these techniques, the findings suggested that the LULC of the study comprises forest/natural vegetation, open scrubs, rivers, riverine areas, marshes, besides open green spaces, lakes/ponds, tree patches, open grounds, paddy fields, as well as plantations, fallow land, sparse vegetation, homesteads with mixed cultivation, urban built-ups, and road networks.
The biodiversity index of Itanagar was prepared based on the Secretariat on the Convention of Biological Diversity (SCBD) endorsed user’s manual for preparation of a City Biodiversity Index. According to SCBD, the benefits derived from a biodiversity include; a process facilitated capacity-building in biodiversity conservation; the indicators functioning as biodiversity conservation guidelines; and assistance in setting priorities for conservation actions and budget allocation through quantitative scoring.
Itanagar has multiple state and city-level agencies handling its biodiversity administration like the state government’s Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; APBB; IMC; Department of Town Planning; urban local bodies; Itanagar Smart City Development Corporation Limited; and the Biodiversity Management Committee. Check out Itanagar’s CBI here.