Text by Avishek Sarkar
View of Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary
Photo: Kukil Gogoi
The city of Guwahati is the gateway to North-East India, and the geographical location plays a huge role in the population dynamics as well as land use/cover change in and around the city. The urban sprawl has evidenced a persistent increase, with a rise in settlements towards the forests that surround the city from East, West and South, while being restricted to some extent by river Brahmaputra towards the North. Towards the West, Rani-Garbhanga Reserve Forest and Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary (only the other Ramsar Site of North-East India along with Loktak Lake of Manipur) marks the boundary of the city, with the forests of Meghalaya towards South and Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (AWLS) towards the East.
The city in itself is spread across only 216 sq km (area under Guwahati Municipal Corporation), most of which is covered by built-up areas. This is the reason people are moving towards the forests and hills around the protected areas. All the protected areas around Guwahati are facing high pressure due to the changes incurred around and within them by the anthropogenic disturbances. These forests are home to rich biodiversity and a part of the Indo-Tibetan biodiversity hotspot. There is an increasing pressure on their habitats as well as the corridors that are important for their movement. The Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral part of this landscape, regulating the micro-climate of the eastern parts of Guwahati city.
Map courtesy: Geo-spatial Technology & Application Division, Aaranyak