Ziro (167 km from Itanagar) is a beautiful plateau and the headquarters of Lower Subansiri District. It is one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh.
This beautiful hill station is located 1500 metres above sea level. The place has an imposing landscape of beautiful lush green forest, rivulets and elevated patches. It is famous for paddy-cum-pisciculture cultivation. The area is renowned for the terrace paddy fields where the unique system of poly-culture and water management is practiced by the local people.
Mainly inhabited by the Apatani tribe, the town wears a festive look during festivals celebrated by the Apatani people.
The Apatanis, one of the major ethnic groups of eastern Himalayas, have a distinct civilization with systematic land use practices and rich traditional ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation, acquired over the centuries through informal experimentation. The tribe is known for their colorful culture with various festivals, intricate handloom designs, skills in cane and bamboo crafts, and vibrant traditional village councils called bulyañ. This has made Ziro Valley a good example of a living cultural landscape where man and environment have harmoniously existed together in a state of interdependence even through changing times, such co-existence being nurtured by the traditional customs and spiritual belief systems.
The hallmark of the valley is judicious utilization of limited land area. The relatively flat land in the valley is used for wet-rice cultivation where fish also is reared. This systematic land-use pattern ensures high level of biodiversity in the area and efficient conservation of crucial watersheds ensuring perennial streams flowing into the valley to meet the needs of the people.
The community has evolved a unique skill of rice-fish cultivation where along with paddy, fish is also reared on the fields. This is further supplemented with millet (Eleusine coracana) reared on elevated partition bunds between the rice plots. The agro-ecosystems are nourished by nutrient wash-out from the surrounding hill slopes. Nutrient loss with crop harvest is replaced by recycling crop residues and use of organic wastes of the villages so that soil fertility is sustained year after year.