Sessa Orchid Sanctuary

Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is a 100 km2 protected area of India in the Himalayan foothills in Bhalukpong Forest Division of West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh.It is India’s only Orchid sanctuary.

.It is a part of theKameng Protected Area Complex (KPAC), which is an Elephant Reserve.  The department of Environment & Forests has developed trekking routes for visitors to enjoy the natural habitats of orchids. There are deep gorges and valleys, high peaks and rugged terrain that are rewarding for nature lovers and adventure tourists.

Notified in November 1989 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is a natural home to more than 236 species of orchids, as well as a wealthy diversity of mushrooms and other medicinal plants.

Sessa sanctuary is drained by the Tippi Naala (Tippi river), which joins the Kameng river at Tippi village on the Bhalukpong-Bomdila highway.

Since last month, a new gate, with a boardwalk leading up to it which is a result of a collaborative effort between the villagers of Sessa and officers of the Khellong Forest Division, under which the sanctuary falls.

Last year, the government of Arunachal Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) India to create a Red Listing of orchids at the state level, a global process to assess the risk faced by different species.

While orchids bloom abundantly in the Northeastern states, they are increasingly at the risk of disappearing too —deforestation, soil erosion, overgrazing, as well as a thriving illegal trade.

Sessa is part of the Kameng protected area complex (KPAC), the largest contiguous closed-canopy forest tract of Arunachal Pradesh, which includes Sessa, Eaglenest, Pakke, Nameri, and Sonai Rupai sanctuaries and associated reserved forest blocks.

About Orchids:

  1. The population of Orchid diminishes as one proceeds towards poles from tropics. Orchids are found both terrestrial and as well epiphytic.
  2. Baring a few terrestrial variety most of the orchids are epiphytic – the plants is a herb and grows on the trunk and branches of trees having the proper conditions which orchid needs for its survival.
  3. The life cycle of orchid has a peculiar association with the fungus; the association is only possible at a site where the site is conducive for the growth of fungus. Another association of orchid is moss, which grows plenty on the bole, trunk and branches of trees available inside the tropical evergreen and semi evergreen forest.
  4. Orchids and mycorrhizal fungi have a complex symbiotic association where each of the orchid’s life stages are dependent at some level on specific fungi. In the earliest stages, orchids rely entirely on their mycorrhizal fungi for all nutrients, including carbon. While the association with symbiotic fungi is critical, specialized habitats and pollinators also play an important role in an orchid’s life cycle. Because orchids are often viewed as indicators of overall environmental health, understanding the biology and ecology of orchids, fungi and pollinators, as well as their ecosystem requirements, is necessary to develop effective protocols for orchid preservation and propagation
  5. The orchids of epiphytic type have special type of organ known a velamen, a special spongy an absorbing type of tissue system. It hangs from the branch and site of its supporting place. The tissue absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, which is very high inside the tropical evergreen and semi evergreen forests.
  6. . There are about 20,000 varieties of orchids in the world out of which about 1200 accounts in India. The ecological condition and climate variation in Arunachal Pradesh is so much favourable that the state holds about 60% of the Indian variety of orchids. Till today about 605 spp. of orchids of Arunachal Pradesh have been identified and the work is in progress.
  7.  The flowering of orchids depends on the seasonal condition and variation. Some orchids starts flowering from September to throughout winter i.e. upto February and some are in bloom from March to September. So the orchids in Arunachal Pradesh are in bloom throughout the year. The orchid is valued for its flower.

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