Abstract                 Volume:3  Issue-4  Year-2016          Original Research Articles

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Sacred Groves of India – An Overview
M. Amirthalingam*
C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, No. 1, Eldams Road, Alwarpet, Chennai-600 018, Tamil Nadu, India
*Corresponding author

Sacred groves can be defined as undisturbed patches of vegetation on the outskirts of villages and towns or in the plains or a part of forested areas that are dedicated to local folk deities or ancestral spirits.    They are fine examples of in-situ conservation. They vary in size between 05 – 500 hectares.   Their existence depends upon the social traditions and taboos incorporating spiritual and ecological values which prevent their destruction. These groves represent an invaluable gene pool, conserve the biodiversity and are found all over the country under different names. Sacred groves provide various ecosystem services such as biodiversity, medicinal plants; regulating services and the range of functions carried out by ecosystems.   It also serves as a repository for biodiversity.  These pristine patches of forests have been instrumental in saving many vanishing species that might otherwise have been destroyed. The entire ecosystem helps in soil and water conservation, apart from preserving biological wealth.  They are a dependable source of water for organisms living in and around the sacred groves. Hunting, logging and other developmental activities are strictly prohibited within the sacred groves.  Besides, the sacred groves serve to maintain the precious age old religious and cultural practices, beliefs and customs that might otherwise have been lost in this era of globalization and mass culture. Thus, sacred groves provide some very important ecological services to mankind.

Keywords: Beliefs and customs,Biodiversity,Ecosystem services,In-situ conservations,Sacred groves,Spiritual values
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How to cite this article:

Amirthalingam, M., 2016. Sacred groves of India – An overview.Int.J.Curr.Res.Biosci.Plantbiol. 3(4): 64-74. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.20546/ijcrbp.2016.304.011