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SACRED GROVES SOURCES
"Sacred Groves",The Hindu Survey of The Environment, pp. 129-130,1998
One of the traditional conservation practices followed by the tribal is the protection of sacred groves. These groves are called Saranas and harbour deities in natural forms. Most of the tribal festivals are linked with these groves.

"The Sacred Groves of Kerala",The WWF India Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 3-4, pp 15-16,1990
‘Kavus,’ the sacred groves of Kerala, preserves the native flora and fauna. It is habitual among the Kerala Hindus to set apart some land around the house for Goddess Durga and create a small forest (kavu) around her.

"Sacred Groves in Tamilnadu",Annual Report, 1996-97, MSSRF, pp. 28-35,1997
Sacred groves are an important traditional method of both in situ and ex situ conservation of economically and spiritually valuable tree species. An extensive survey of 266 sacred groves of Tamilnadu was conducted in order to conserve them.

Adhikari, S.D., and B.S. Adhikari,"Veneration of a Deity by Restoration of Sacred Grove in a Village Minar, Kumaun Region of Uttarakhand: A Case Study",Journal of American Sciences, Vol. 3, No.2, pp. 45-49,2007
Golu Devta is a famous deity of Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, which is being worshipped by the locals. It is believed that this deity resides in the forests; however, these days due to heavy anthropogenic pressure viz. lopping, grazing, collection of Non-Timber Forest Produce and subsequent loss of forest area, the deity seems to be loosing ground to the evils of development. The local religious custom, however, protects part of the forests, where this deity resides and is worshipped. In this context, it becomes necessary to document the abode as Sacred Grove. The article impregnates and enlightens as to how a religious custom restores and preserves an area as Sacred Grove and brings people of different opinion and status in one platform. It discusses the views of some locals about the sanctity of the place and its environmental usefulness. Most of the people are unaware regarding the ecological benefits of the Sacred Groves and feel that wherever this deity rests, the place itself becomes sacred and the trees are protected and thrive. Cutting of the trees inside the groves is taboo and prohibited, even climbing on the trees is said to be avenged by the deity. The villagers believe that once the deity is established the conservation of the forest in that area is automatic and natural due to the blessings of the deity. This is an indigenous means of conserving the nature. To restore these traditional customs is to restore the biodiversity. At a time when the number of groves is declining due to modernization, urbanization and expansion of market economy, the restoration of a sacred grove indicates the attitude and behavior of community towards the environment is commendable and must be backed by all means possible, financial and administrative.

Adhikary, A.K.,"Society and World View of the Birhor",Memoir No.60, Anthropological Survey of India, Calcutta,1984
The members of each clan of Birhor tribe think themselves to have descended from a common ancestor belonging to a particular hill or mountain and feel kinship relation among all of them. Each clan has a deity or Buru Bonga who is supposed to live in its traditional site or sites on forest clad hills or mountain. They worship and make sacrifices to their respective Buru Bonga from time to time facing the direction in which their traditional home are situated.

Agarwal, R.,"Divine Protection",Down to Earth, Vol. 11, No. 11, p 44, October 11,2002
The villagers in Kumaon Himalayas discovered that Gods were the best guards for their forests. So they have declared their forests as sacred in order to protect them from destruction.

Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd.,"Sacred Groves of Kurukshetra, Haryana",Bombay Regional Centre, National Afforestation and Eco-development Board, MoEF, Government of India, New Delhi,1995
Unlike in other state there seems to be no common name for these groves even though they enjoy protection due to similar reasons. There are in all 248 sacred groves in Kurukshetra district out of which Kurukshetra tehsil has 190, 30 in Pehowa and 28 groves in Shahabad. The groves attached to temples account for 38 % and 16 % of groves comes under Ashram, Dharmashala and Vidyapeeth, Church. For detailed studies 36 sites were selected with the break-up of 20-temple grove, 6 Tirathsthans, 4 Gurudwaras and 4 Samadhis and one each of church and museum.

Alfrod, J.R.B.,"Sacred Groves of Meghalaya",pp 1-5, Calcutta,1996
A striking feature in Meghalaya is the presence of remnants of many small primary forests revered as sacred forests or Law Lyngdohin the Khasi and Jaintia hills. For a long time the plants in these forests are left unhindered, without any interference from man. The villagers protect these forests from intruders, as they consider them sacred, where the deities reside.

Altman, N.,"Trees for Transformation", Sacred Trees, pp. 178 - 199, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco,1994
Since we began walking on this planet, humans have marvelled at the dramatic transformative properties of trees and other plants. Most sacred trees for transformation are those connected to legends of being favoured by God. Shamans to facilitate healing and transformation have traditionally used sacred trees.

Amirthalingam, M,"The Sacred Groves of Tamilnadu",The Indian Forester, Vol.130, No. 11, pp.1279 1285, Dehra Dun,2004
The sacred groves can be considered as a part of forest left untouched by the local inhabitants, and protected by the village folk deities. Several such groves are reported in many parts of India. In this paper an inventory of a few intact sacred groves or the Koil Kaadugal of Tamilnadu is given. Detailed information on the location, area and associated deities are available for 500 groves. Out of these 500 groves, 343 are dedicated to 93 male deities and 157 are dedicated to 77 female deities. The approximate area occupied by the sacred groves is 21694.34 hectares. These sacred groves are the only remnants of the original forest, maintained in near climax condition in many parts of Tamilnadu. As such, these groves now play a vital role in the conservation of biological diversity.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Folklore of Sacred Groves",Indian Folklife, Vol. 1, No.3, pp. 8-9, October,2000
Folklore plays an important role in the conservation of sacred groves. Not only tribal people, but rural people also preserved the sacred groves by traditional customs, rituals, ceremonies and folk-beliefs.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Sacred groves in the Environmental Protection",Kisan World, Vol. 29, No. 3, p. 37,2002
Sacred groves play a major role in environmental protection. They control air pollution, cool the atmosphere, increase soil fertility, harbours various organisms and are also an integral part of social, religious, ecological and environmental traditions.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Conservation Srategy for Sacred Groves of Tamil Nadu",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves are the repositories of biological diversity and genetic resource, protected and conserved by the local communities on the basis of religious faith. They are the treasure trove for biologists and are considered as mini biosphere reserves and home to a myriad of living organisms. The phenomenon of conservation of sacred groves is very ancient in India. The areas under sacred groves vary from place-to-place ranging from a few trees to hundred of hectares. These are the last remnants of the native vegetation of a particular region. They are protected by the local communities by giving them sacred status. Sacred groves exist in several states and are locally known by different names. In Tamil Nadu, sacred groves are called Koil Kaadugal and are found almost in all districts, usually dedicated to local deities. The taboos and beliefs system prevailing in the local area have contributed a lot for the preservation of sacred groves. Today, due to the cultural diffusion with the rapid urbanization, sacred groves are gradually disappearing in many areas. This paper examines the significance of sacred groves and their relevance today besides analyzing the role-played by sacred groves in conserving biodiversity. It also explores the possible ways and means of conserving sacred groves with the help of local communities. It analyses the legal and policy vacuum pertaining to sacred groves and puts forth a demand for a legal status for sacred groves with sufficient legal and policy back up. It also proposes to suggest a strategy for conservation of sacred in Tamil Nadu.

Amrithalingam, M.,"Sacred Trees of Tamilnadu",C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
The sacred trees or sthalavrikshas form an important part of the ecological traditions of Tamilnadu. They have played a significant role in the protection and preservation of the environment. Each sacred tree is associated with a deity and a temple.

Amrithalingam, M.,"Sthalavrikshas of Tamilnadu",In: Krishna, N., & Prabhakaran, J. (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, pp. 83-93,1997
The tradition of associating trees with Gods and Goddesses in Tamilnadu can be traced back to 'sangam' literature, which is full of references to more than hundred plants. In Tamilnadu, 265 temples were visited and 60 stalavrikshas recorded.

Amrithlingam, M.,"Sacred Groves of Tamilnadu - A Survey",C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
The sacred groves or Kovilkadugal are an inherent feature of the ecological heritage and tradition of the southern state of Tamilnadu in India. These groves are the last remnants of the forests that once thrived in these areas. In the shade of the trees there is to be found a shrine, generally of the mother goddess, which is worshipped by the local community. In order to preserve both the environment and sanctity of the grove, several intriguing taboos and customs laid down way back in the past are still existent. In all 448 groves were studied from 28 district of the state in order to understand size, cultural practices and vegetation of the groves.

Andrews, N.,"Conservation of Sacred Groves: Participatory Strategy for the Future",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
Sacred groves are one of the most significant remaining vestiges of India’s rich heritage in the sphere of environment, which have been preserved purely by the virtue of the ancient Indian traditions and religious practices. They have ecological and economic significance due to the presence of rare and endangered species and other ecologically and economically important plant resources and animal population, which are not necessarily only harnessed on religious ground.

Anon,"Kurichiyas - A Traditional Agricultural Community",Gender Dimensions in Biodiversity Management: India.,
The Kurichiyas are a traditional agricultural community whose men and women attach great importance to their Kavu or the sacred groves. It has been a tradition among all the tharavadu to retain a portion of the woodland to which sacredness is attributed. Women are not supposed to go near the kavu.

Appffel, Margalin, F., and Parajuli, P.,"Sacred grove and ecology: Ritual and Science",In: Sharma, A., and Chapple, C., (eds.), Hinduism and Ecology - Ecology and World Religions series of the Center for the study of World Religions, Harvard University,2000
In this paper, the authors look closely at the practices of coastal small holder peasants and the fisher folks in Orissa (Puri district) during their most important festival of the year, Rajapraba, which takes place (in part) in a grove dedicated to Goddess Bali Haracandi (Haracandi of the sand).

Arulananthan, B. and R. Selvapandian,"Role of C.P.R.Environmental Educaion Centre in Conservation and restoration of sacred gorves of Tamil Nadu",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves are sanctified forests associated with temples and represent local traditions of conservation and management of natural resources, especially and water. Encroachments, agricultural developments and increasing demand for land have resulted in degradation of the sacred groves in many areas. Though there have been many efforts to conserve and protect the existing sacred groves in India, restoration of degraded sites is unexplored concept. Considering the significance of sacred groves in ecological balance, culture and tradition, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC) has taken efforts to identify and select endangered and near extinct sacred groves for restoration in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This paper discusses the role played by CPREEC since 1993 in restoring sacred groves o Tamil Nadu, and the methodologies adopted for identification, election and community involvement in restoring the sacred grove. Encroachment of peoples participation and contribution in selecting the sites, watering, bio-fencing, manuring, tree planting, etc. are the hallmarks of the restoration programmes. The results of restoration efforts have been remarkable and have contributed to significant environmental changes in around restored groves, such as rise in groundwater levels, restoration of sunsoil water, reduction of surface water runoff, prevention of soil erosion, conservation of indigenous medicinal plants, preservation of local lora and fauna, provision of food and shelter for wildlife and birds, control of air pollution and increase in scenic beauty. This paper also proposes to highlight the need for restoration of sacred groves in many areas of Tamil Nadu and he replication of the efforts made by CPREEC.

Avesthe, R.K., P.C. Rai and L.K. Rai,"Sacred groves as repositories of genetic diversity A case study from Kabi-Longchuk, North Sikkim",ENVIS Bulletin: Himalayan Ecology, Vol. 12 (1),2004
Kabi-Longchuk in North Sikkim is one of the sacred groves, which has religious and historical background. The people residing in the immediate proximity certainly have strong conviction on its sanctity and relevance. When Lepacha community people of north Sikkim severely suffered in the floods followed by an earthquake, they started worshipping the mountain tops and sought for refuge. One among those mountaintops is the Kabi. This is the religious background. When we go the historical background, a peace accord between the Lepachas and Bhutias in 1268 AD had signed in Kabi and the patch of forest was declared as sacred. The levels of biotic interference in Kabi-Longchuk were not alarming enough to be labelled as major threats. But a slow and gradual exploitation of the forest resources in this gene pool reserve was noticed. Collection of medicinal plants, firewood, wild edibles, fodder and ornamental plants are the few threats in this Kabi-Longchuk sacred grove. The luxury of this grove was evident from the large number of herb, shrub and adorned with very old trees. Ground cover herbs were equally rich. This sacred grove formed a unique example of in situ conservation of genetic resources with its own distinct floral and faunal strength. However, the key for further success aimed towards future conservation under the present threats lies in educating the locals. Mass awareness programmes should be conducted giving priority focusing on the cultural and ethical practices vital for their livelihood. Detailed exploration of sacred groves in Sikkim is an immediate requirement to assess their composition, various threat factors and conservation potential for their existence.

Balasubramanian, A.,"Preserving Village Temple Forests in Tamilnadu",Blackbuck, Vol. V, No. 1 and 2, pp. 19 – 22,1989
There are many village temple forests in Tamilnadu, which harbors a vast number of medicinal plants and shelter of many birds and animals. These forests are degraded by encroachments and are in need of immediate attention.

Balasubramanian, P., and Rajasekaran, A.,"An Inventory of Sacred Groves of Coimbatore Forest Division, Tamilnadu",In: Abstracts of seminar on Sacred Groves of India – Their Biodiversity Conservation, Hyderabad April 21,1996
The sacred groves of Coimbatore forest division are protected by the Irula community. Information on the deity of the sacred grove, ownership of the sacred grove, religious beliefs attached to the deity and plant diversity of the grove are given.

Banwari,"Pancavati: Indian Approach to Environment", Shri Vinayaka Publications, Delhi,1992
The book “Pancavati: Indian Approach to Environment” surveys the complex skein of thoughts, beliefs and practices that developed from ancient period to the present. It presents for the first time the time-tested techniques discovered by Indian sages, seers, artisans, craftsman and householders practiced for period extending over five thousand years for preservation of environment. Besides discussing the medicinal properties of trees and the traditional methods of increasing the yield and fertility of land, it also describes the techniques of curing `sick’ trees.

Basha Chand, S.,"Conservation and management of sacred groves in Kerala",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 337-347,1998
Ownership of the groves and the belief of the people on Gods residing inside the grove are two decisive factors which decide the conservation of the sacred groves in Kerala. The fact that about 79% of them are small i.e., below 0.02 ha in extent should never be taken as a criterion to neglect the groves. By appropriate management practices many of them can be developed or atleast kept in their existing condition with a possibility for improving the vegetation.

Basu, R.,"Biodiversity and Ethnobotany of Sacred Groves in Bankura District, West Bengal",The Indian Forester, Vol.135, No.6, pp.765-778,2009
Investigations were carried out in 26 sacred groves of the district of Bankura of West Bengal during 2006 to 2007. 114 plant species were recorded from those groves including 102 dicots and 12 monocots. Among them, species of trees were 62, shrubs 14, herbs 23, lianas 04, climbers 10, epiphytes 01. Sacred groves totally cover an are of 8.2 hectares. The major tribal groups in these areas are Santals and Koramudis; others are Bedias and Mahalis. Main festival of the Santal is Sarul under the canopy of Shorea robusta. The festival Ashari is performed before planting and Maghi after harvesting paddy are common to all the tribes. The dominant tree species observed were Shorea robusta, Butea monosperma and Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia. The dominant family in the study are was Combretaceae with 7 species. The family Dipterocarpaceae has the maximum number of individuals (181). Papilionaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Rubiaceae also have a good representation. These groves are good reserves of 28 medicinal plants. About 60% of the trees were confined to the height class 10-15 meters and 40% were less than 15-20 meters. The floristic diversity was found to be 0.99. Importance Value Index (IVI) of Shorea robusta has 38.94, other sub-dominant forms like Butea monosperma have 22.04, Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia have 21.13 and Holoptelea integrifolia have 15.17. To maintain the functions, values and attributes of sacred groves effective conservation and management practices are required.

Bennet, S.S.R., Gupta, P.C., and Rao, R.V.,"Origin of Tree Worship", Venerated Plants,pp. 1 - 35, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehra Dun,1992
India is a country of sacred deities, lakes, animals and has been the best friend of man even in the prehistoric period. It was through the worship of trees that man attempted to approach and appease God. Not only trees even sizeable patches of forests were protected as "Sacred Groves".

Bhakat, R.K.,"Socio-religious and Ecological Perspective of a Sacred Grove from Midnapore District, West Bengal",Science and Culture, Vol. 69, No. 11- 12,pp. 371 - 374,2003
The present paper provides an overview of the socio-religious and ecological dimensions of the Chilkigarh sacred grove. It records the existence value of the area in terms of ecology, environment, economy and human culture. The study discusses the future strategies for the effective long-term conservation and better management of the grove.

Bhakat, R.K., and Pandit, P.K.,"Role of a Sacred Grove in Conservation of Medicinal Plants",The Indian Forester, Vol. 129, No. 2, pp 224-232, Dehraduan, February,2003
Sacred groves are small patches of native vegetation traditionally protected and managed by local communities for various. Sacred groves in general act as a nursery and storehouse of many of the local ayurvedic, tribal and folk medicines. Some of the species so preserved are already of medicinal significance.

Bhakat, R.K., U.K. Sen and P.K. Pandit,"Role of Sacred Grove in Conservation of Plants",The Indian Forester, Vol. 134, No.7, pp. 866- 874,2008
Many traditional conservation ethics of people directly or indirectly protect forest patches by dedicating them to local deities. Such forest pockets, referred to as sacred groves, are more or less small to large chunk of traditionally maintained near-virgin forests protected on socio-cultural grounds. Named differently in different states of India, these groves are mainly concentrated in tribal areas and are managed by local people for various purposes. Irrespective of their origin, size and management regimes, all sacred groves are islands of biodiversity protecting a host of plant and animal species including some rare and threatened taxa. With this background, this paper attempts to highlight the role played by a 4-acre sacred groves (popularly known as Sitabala than) of West Midnapore District in West Bengal towards conservation of plant diversity. The study records 80 species of angiosperms covering 42, 10, 16 and 12 species of herbs, shrubs, trees and climbers respectively. Moreover, the grove supports few locally useful medicinal plants. Owing to protection offered on socio-religious grounds, the sacred grove provides optimum conditions congenial for the growth of plants. As a result, some of the trees attain maximum dimensions in terms of size and growth patterns. Therefore, there is an urgent need not only to protect the sacred forest, but also to revive and reinvent such traditional way of nature conservation.

Bhandary, M.J. and K.R. Chandrasekhar,"Sacred groves of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka sliding towards a silent death",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
It is surprising that the phenomenon of sacred groves has not been properly documented from the Dakshina Kannda and Udupi district of Karnataka, where a network of numerous sacred groves occur even today dotting plateau regions. Their past magnitude can be visualized densities of 2 to 3 per km2 ranging in size from a small clump to a hectare or more. Currently, their size rarely extends beyond 0.5 acre. These groves are locally called Banas. A few are also attended to some of Guliga, Kallurti, Bhairava, Raktheshwari and others. Unlike the Devara Kadus of the neighbouring kodagu and Uttara Kannada districts which are usually the common heritage if a village or community, banas usually are private worship sites belonging to individual families of traditional lane-owning castes. A few or at least one bana exist in the land owned by almost every agricultural family. In many cases, banas dedicated to different deities are seen together as a cluster. Floristically, the banas are the last shelters of natural forests in the coastal and plateau parts of these districts they are also the indicators of the rich vegetation that had existed here in the past, which has now been replaced by paddy fields and plantations. The species of plants occurring in the banas are diverse and they are strikingly different from those few that occur in their surrounding area. They are also rich in endemics and medicinal plants. The present status of sacred groves is a matter of deep concern as they are on a path of gradual decline and disappearance, thanks to various social-economic factors. Their presence in the agriculture lands, fragmentation of the grove-owning families and loosening belief of the younger generation on the deities and associated traditions are the major reasons. In addition, of a late, a modern method of rejuvenation of banas by constructing grand concrete shrines in them in places of former symbolic worship stones is also ruining the valuable vegetation protected in the banas. On the background of these happenings, there is a strong even a record of the precious species they contained! List of plants conserved in the banas are provided with emphasis on rare, endemic and medicinally useful species. The present status of banas, local social-cultural aspects connected with them and measures for their long-term conservation are discussed in detail in the article.

Bhardwaj, A.K., B.S.Adhikari, et.al., and R.K. Mohanta,Distribution and conservation status of sacred groves (SGs) in Garo Hills, Meghalaya, Indian Forester, Vol.135, No.12, Pp. 1627 1649.,
Sacred groves are (small or large) patches of vegetation of varying sizes, conserved on the basis of the religious beliefs of the community. In India 13,720 sacred groves have been identified from 19 states and named differently in various parts of India as Law lyngdhoh in Meghalaya, Kovil Kadu in Kanyakumari, Dev Bhumi in Uttarakhand, etc.

Bhasin, V.,"Religious and cultural perspective of a sacred site – Sitabari in Rajasthan",J.Hum.Ecol., 10 : 329-340,1999
The paper deals with the religious and cultural aspects of a sacred grove of Sitabari in Rajasthan. The grove is of great socio-religious importance to Sahariya tribals. It serves as a rallying point of a Sahariya rights movement. The grove is experiencing a variety of pressures - grazing, illicit tree cutting, etc.

Bhaskar, V., Nandini, D., Shivaprakash, H.B., and Anjappa, M.,"Tree Diversity and Regeneration Status in Devarakadu (Sacred Groves) of Kodagu District, Karnataka",My Forest, 36, 2, pp. 105 - 120, Bangalore,2000
Devarakadu or sacred groves in Kodagu district are of special nature as they have remained, more often than to in near virgin state and in the climax form and probably constitute the only representation of the type of forest that existed earlier in the region. A study was undertaken to document the tree diversity, regeneration status in 25 Devarakadu of Kodagu.

Bhise, S.N.,"Restoration of Ek-Panya-Baoji Sacred Grove Under WWF Supported CBCM Project",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
Orans, the sacred groves of Rajasthan are attached to temples or deities and support a variety of plants species. Ek-panya-Baoji is a sacred grove situated in the Aravalli hills near Madar village of Udaipur district. A project proposal has been submitted to the WWF for the restoration of this sacred grove.

Bhowmik, P.K.,"Lodhas of West Bengal", Punthi Pustak, Calcutta,1963
In Lodha tribals, the shrines are rectangular with mud walls and thatches of straw. These shrines face the east, the western portion being completely blocked by straw or branches of trees The shrines are treated as communal property. Inside the hut there is an earthen platform, locally called bedi.

Biswas, P.C.,"Santals of the Santal Parganas.",Bharatiya Adamjati Sevak Sangh, Delhi,1956
The Jaherthan is a place where religious ceremonies of the village are performed by the Santal. It is situated at the end of the village, usually within the boundary of the village. A cluster of sal trees about 20 to 25 in number is always required. Among these three trees are essential and they must stand in a row. At the base of each of these three trees a small stone is placed representing the deities Jaher era, Truko Muruko and Marang Buru. The fourth is an ashan tree which grows anywhere near those three sal trees, and a stone is put on its base representing the deity pargana Bonga. The 5th and the last is a Mowah tree; on its foot a stone representing the deity Gosain era is kept. This is known as ‘Lady of the grove’.

Boal, B.M.,"The Khonds: Human Sacrifice and Religious Change",Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, England. The Modern Book Depot, Bhubaneswar,1984
The groves of Khond are known now simply as `God's tree' -all have their own custodians but they are devoted to the safeguarding of that particular village against witches and all forms of incoming evil.

Boraiah, K.T., Vasudeva, R., Bhagwat, A.S. and Kushalappa, C.G.,"Regeneration of Threatened Flora Among the Sacred Groves of Kodagu, Karnataka, South India",My Forest, 38, 2, pp. 123 - 128, Bangalore,2002
In a study of sacred groves of Kodagu, it was identified that 'well- conserved' sacred groves had higher densities of the threatened flora than the 'disturbed sacred groves' as well as 'reserve forests'. In terms of species richness, conserved sacred groves were comparable to that of reserve forests. The result of the study further reinforces the notion that sacred groves, though small in size, are important repositories of rare/endangered flora.

Boraiah, K.T., Vasudeva, R., Bhagwat, A.S. and Kushalappa, C.G.,"Do Informally Managed Sacred Groves Have Higher Richness and Regeneration of Medicinal Plants than State-managed Reserve Forests? ",Current Science, Vol. 84, No. 6, pp. 804-808, Bangalore, March,2003
Sacred groves are traditionally managed forest patches that functionally link social life and forest management systems of a region. The regeneration among the sacred groves of Central Western Ghats was assessed. The results suggests that sacred groves not only conserved useful species, but people have tended to discover medicinal values more often among plants unique to sacred groves, than those found in other landscapes.

Brandis, D.,"Indian Forestry",Oriental Institute, Woking,1897
Very little has been published regarding sacred groves in India, but they are, or rather were very numerous, found in nearly all provinces. These sacred forests, as a rule, are never touched by the axe except when wood is wanted for the repair of religious buildings or in special cases for other purposes.

Britto, J.S,"Status and conservation of Sacred Groves case studies from Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu",Pp.189 200, In: Kunhi Kannan, C. and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred Groves in Tamil Nadu exists today as small fragments of a formerly extensive forest and are mostly confined to an agro-pastoral landscape. They serve as sites for initiation ceremonies, spiritual sites they social now suffered severe setbacks by systems of exploitative management. The micro-level analysis of the groves from some parts of Tamil Nadu as in the case of Pudukottai district has revealed several insights on their cultic, cultural and biological features. Every village possessing a single or groups of grove representing different ethnicity of local population shows unique features of resource management, ethno-botanical treasures, peculiar biological composition of flora and fauna. A floristic inventory of selected groves indicate the richness of biological diversity, the prevalence of varied kinds of keystone species and a peculiar biological spectrum, which reflects the luxuriant pristine vegetation of the past. Exceptional presence of some angiosperm species, some of them new to plant science and others new as distributional records demonstrate the urgency of introducing measure for conservation. The variety of ecological situation of each grove needs to be studied. The underlying principles behind the ethical issue embedded in these groves, social and cultural insights and structural analysis of ecosystem components deserve deeper study and documentation to ensure effective conservation management. The linkage that exists between ecologically significant keystone species and socially selected species has potential for evolving relevant rehabilitation and management programmes. Empowerment of local village communities in general and the vulnerable sections in particular is crucial. With rapid and continued decline, there is an urgent need to document and monitor the existing groves, analyse the scientific basis of the relict ecosystem functional units and evaluate their biodiversity conservation and management. This paper includes features and aspects mentioned above from the field study undertaken for the past two years.

Britto, J.S., Balaguru, B., Soosai Raj, S., and Arockiasamy, D.I.,"Diversity of Plants in A Sacred Grove in Pudukottai District, Tamilnadu, South India",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 58-62, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,2001
Though drought prone, patches of vegetation still exist intact mostly as sacred groves in Pudukottai district of Tamilnadu. The sacred grove in Malliganatham village is rich in plant diversity. The grove consists of 260 plant species belonging to 176 genera distributed among 62 families. This paper discussed species diversity and presents the statistical analysis of Malliganatham sacred grove.

Britto, J.S., Balaguru, B., Soosai Raj, S. and Arockiasamy, D.I.,"Floristic Analysis of A Sacred Grove at Vamban in Pudukottai District of Tamilnadu, South India",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol. 25, No. 1, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,2001
The paper presents the flora of a sacred grove in Vamban in Pudukottai district, Tamilnadu. The study comprises 224 species belonging to 175 genera in 63 families. A part of the sacred grove is severely disturbed and areas adjoining the deity are well conserved. This grove is an example for high species diversity.

Burman, J.J.R.,"Sacred Groves: Symbol of Self Assertion",Economic News & Views,1994
The sacred groves in recent years have drawn the attention of the environmentalists due to their undisturbed conditions which enable them to be repositories of gene pools. The sacred groves also are indicative of the phenomenon of ethno-environmental management.

Centre for Science and Environment,"The Spirit of Sanctuary",Down to Earth, pp. 21-37,1994
Sacred groves are tracts of virgin forests protected by the people to avoid the wrath of God. They are found in many parts of India from Meghalaya in Northeast and the states along the Western Ghats.

Chaithra, G.N., G.Ravikanth, Bhausheb Tambat, R. Uma Shanker, and K.N. Ganeshaiah,"How good are sacred groves in conservation the genetic diversity of endemic tree species",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Despite extensive deforestation and land use change in India, one of the most resilient features of the countys landscape is he devarakadus or temple (sacred) forests. Because of their divine protection, a number of tree species that have otherwise been heavily extracted from the forests continue to exist in the groves. However in recent years with the erosion of religious faith and encroachments of these sacred groves, there is a growing concern if the groves indeed can offer a refugium to the endemic and endangered species of the Western Ghats. In his context, we examined the population genetic structure and genetic diversity of Litsea floribunda Gamb. Endemic tree species of Western Ghats and Mangifera indica, are found in the sacred groves of varying sizes. Sixteen groves were selected and categorized into three size classes; small (<2 ha), medium (2-4 ha) and Large (>4ha) in he Kogadu district of Karnataka, central Western Ghats to assess he genetic diversity of Litsea floribunda. In case of Mangifera indica, leaf samples were collected from three small, medium, large sized sacred groves as well as an adjoining contiguous forest. Genetic diversity was assessed by using en random primers (RAPD). Our results indicate that genetic diversity of Litsea floribunda increased with the grove size; the mean genetic diversity of small groves ranged from (0.204-0.274), medium (0.259-0.293) and large (0.283-0.303). The frequency distribution of he similarly index (based on all loci) indicated clear differences between the small and large grove. Similarly value for large and medium groves was skewed towards right, indicating higher similarly of individuals in these fragments compared to small groves. These results indicate that a set of small groves seem to be highly diverse among themselves than do a set of large groves. In case of Mangifera indica, in all the three sets, the mean gene diversity was highest either for the large grove or the control (reserve forest) and least for the small and medium groves. Over all he groves, the gene diversity was highest for the large groves (0.36+0.10) and leas for the medium sized groves (0.25+0.13). However these results were statistically non-significant. The mean similarly of M.indica individuals in the control was less (0.71) compared to the individuals in he small fragments (0.75) and medium fragments (0.77). In other words, individuals from the reserve forest were more diverse than the individuals from the groves. In summary it appears that, the effects on small fragmented populations of Mangifera indica may be relatively less pronounced than it is for Litsea floribunda that are less abundant and more sparsely distributed. We discuss the implications these studies hold for the management of sacred groves to conserve the critically endangered and endemic species.

Chandrakanth, M.G., and Nagaraj, M.G.,"Existence value of Kodagu sacred groves: Implications for policy",In: The Challenge of the Balance: Environmental Economics in India, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, pp. 217 – 224,1997
This paper highlights Coorg's Devara Kadu (sacred groves) tradition and the role of village communities in consciously providing a social fence for its sustainability. The paper examines the status of Devara Kadus in Coorg.

Chandrakanth, M.G., Gilless, J.K., Goramma, V., and Nagaraj, M.G.,"Temple forests in India's forest development", Agroforestry Systems, 11: 199-211,1990
Historically the temple forests in India have served many spiritual and religious purposes. This paper stresses on the use of the underused repertoire of sacred acts to integrate the benefits of temple forests in rural development.

Chandran, M.D.S.,"On the ecological history of the Western Ghats",Current Science, 73: 146-155,1997
Over three millennia of forest utilization and management by traditional societies, and the practice of state forestry, since last 200 years, have moulded the forest ecosystems of the Western Ghats. Major vegetational changes here began with the migrations of agri-pastoral people, beginning in the middle of 4th millennium BP. The pre-colonial times had mostly village oriented traditional landscape management. Since colonial times, the forestry became more state centered, paying scant consideration to traditional management.

Chandran, M.D.S.,"Review of Sacred Groves in Kodagu District of Karnataka (South India): A Socio-historical study by M.A. Kalam",South Indian Studies, 3,1997
Kalam's study truly reflects the plight of the groves in Kodagu which are getting engulfed in commercial plantations of coffee, tea, rubber and other agricultural crops. The strength of Kalam's work is in the historical account of the British colonial period as well as in portraying the pathetic state of the groves today.

Chandran, M.D.S.,"Sacred Groves of Karnataka",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
The state of Karnataka has thousands of sacred groves, especially along the Western Ghats and the west coast. Most of the gramadevatas or village deities are sheltered in shrines under the sprawling Ficus, or neem trees. These sacred groves have declined due to lack of proper demarcation, monocultures, conversion of these groves into common property resources, cultural changes etc.

Chandran, M.D.S.,"Sacred groves and Sacred trees of Uttara Kannada",In: Baidyanath Saraswati (ed.), Culture and Development No. 5 - Life Style and Ecology. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd, New Delhi, 85 -138,1998
The study is based on the survey of sacred groves and trees in 25 sq. km area of Siddapur taluk of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The area harboured about 54 sacred groves.

Chandran, M.D.S.,"The decline of Sacred groves",Down To Earth,1992
Colonial rule and shifting cultivation have brought about the decline of the sacred groves of Uttar Kannada district, which protected the watersheds and conserved local biodiversity.

Chandran, M.D.S., and Gadgil, M.,"Resource Use Systems and Maintanence of Biodiversity in Pre and Post- Colonial India",Int. J. Sustainable Development, Vol. 1, No.4, pp. 41-50,1993
The Indian subcontinent is rich in biodiversity and the maintenance of this richness through millennia is mainly because of the deeply rooted traditions of conservation in Indian culture.

Chandran, M.D.S., and Gadgil, M.,"‘Kans’- Safety Forests of Uttara Kannada",Mitteilungen, Freiburg,1993
‘Kans’ also known as the safety forests are rich in biological diversity, and were also places of worship for the pre-brahmin peasant societies. They are the sacred forests of Karnataka. Today, the kans are on the decline. Salvaging these valuable remnants from further degradation and bringing them in a conservation network merit top priority.

Chandran, M.D.S., and Hughes, J.D.,"The sacred groves of South India: Ecology, Traditional communities and Religious change", Social Compass, 44 (3): 411-425,1997
The Sacred groves of South India still exist, although the importance given to them is sporadically declining. Several peasant communities such as Karivokkaliga, Halepaik and Halakkigowda perceive the presence of these deities in the entire grove, and it is their place of worship to this day. An attitude that nature itself is sacred dominates the worldview of many village societies. Stones or termite mounds may be present as cult objects. The groves in the Western Ghats broadly come under two classes. The smaller groves are entirely protected; no tree felling or other biomass extraction may be carried out. On the other hand, larger groves function as resource forest also, offering both sustenance and ecological security.

Chandran, M.D.S., and Mesta, D.,"On the conservation of the Myristica swamps of the Western Ghats",In: Shaanker, U., Ganeshaiah, R. K.N., & Bawa, K.S. (eds), Forest Genetic Resources: Status, Threats, and Conservation Strategies, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 1-19,2001
Myristica swamps form one of the unique ecosystems in the Western Ghats, a global mega-diversity hot-spot. These swamps, as their name indicates, are the only sites of occurrence of certain members of the ancient family Myristicaceae such as Myristica fatua and Gymnacranthera canarica. Out of 51 swamps surveyed in Uttara Kannada district 17 are the sacred groves of the local people. Authors review the status of, and threats to, the Myristica swamps based on the study of vegetation structure and composition in the swamps.

Chandran, M.D.S., Gadgil, M., and Hughes, J.D.,"Sacred groves of the Western Ghats of India",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 211-231,1998
The authors in this article review the existing literature on sacred groves of the Western Ghats of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The article covers a wide range to topics: sacred groves for conservation of biodiversity, animal diversity of the sacred groves; sacred groves and watershed protection; sacred groves and subsistence; threats to the sacred groves; state forestry in sacred groves and socio-cultural causes of decline of the sacred groves in the Western Ghats.

Chandrashekhara, U.M., and Sankar, S.,"Structure and functions of sacred groves: Case studies in Kerala",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U. M. (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 323-335,1998
In this paper the authors discuss the influence of different management systems on the vegetation structure and composition, the present strengths and weaknesses of all important stakeholder groups and the strategies to be adopted for effective conservation and management of sacred groves. Three sacred groves with different management systems – Sri Bhagavathi Kavu at Iringole, Shri Shangukulangara Bhagavathi Kavu at Sree Narayana Puram and Sarpa Kavu at Ollur – were studied.

Charles, M.,"Sacred Groves: A Reminder of the Greener Past and the Spirit of Biodiversity Conservation in Tamil Tradition",Environment, Biodiversity and Bioethics- Current Trends and Future Direction, pp156-171, Chennai, July,2002
Sacred groves, the remnants of the greener and luxurious vegetation of the past, remain today as repositories of the social, culture, religious and ritual traditions of the ancient Tamils on conservation of biodiversity. People’s participation must be encouraged in protection and developing such nature temples and places of worship.

Chatterjee, A., and Das, T.C.,"The Ho’s of Seraikella",University of Calcutta, Calcutta,1927
In the villages of Ho tribals, there is no special common meeting ground, but Sasans of the different kinds often serve the same purpose. In these villages, a few large trees such as the nim (Melia azadirachta), tetul (Tamarindus indica), asan (Terminalia tomentosa) and mahua (Bassia latifolia) were commonly observed within the Sasans. These are located on prominent sites and are almost invariably shaded by large trees. They are well kept and regarded as sacred. When firewood is not available, the body is buried in the Sasan.

Chatterjee, S.,"Groves of Conseravation",WWF-India, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 5-9,1999
The sacred groves of Rajasthan are called Orans. The groves have come under the increasing threat of human exploitation, and calls for management strategies for their revival.

Chatterjee, S., M. Pande, B. Roy and P. Datta,"Forests of reverence in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Of the many traditional methods of conservation of forests, sacred groves are the ones, which are protected out of reverence. Sacred groves are found across India and the Eastern Himalayas is no exception. Forests and Biodiversity Conservation Division, WWF-India attempted a preliminary documentation of the sacred groves and their locations in the states of Skkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Sacred groves in Sikkim and in western Arunachal Pradesh are mostly Gumpa Forest Areas (GFAs) attached to the Buddhist monasteries and managed by the Lamas. Fortunately enough, despite the demand on natural resources in Sikkim from the otherwise sparsely spread over local communities; many of the groves still represent healthy stands of forests. Many sacred lakes and caves are also reported in this state. A cause of concern in this state has been increase in cardamom cultivation on forest floors in GFAs by different monasteries for revenue generation. Distribution wise, the monasteries in the state of Sikkim are scattered monasteries in all the four districts of the state, often found to be contiguous with surrounding reserve forests. In Arunachal, on the other hand, they are largely restricted to the western districts viz., Tawang and West Kameng and are patchy due to rapid urbanisation. In this state, Unclassed State Forests (USFs) are reported where communities have ownership rights. This paper highlights some USFs of the Apatani tribe of the state which is predominantly in the central valley f lower Sunansiri and called after the tribes Apatani valley, who pursue religious and ceremonial practices along with many other social-economic activities. An ongoing effort of WWF-India is to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of traditional institutional structures in Eastern Himalayas that manage such forests for their long-term conservation.

Chauhan, B.B.S,"Preserving of Forest Wealth: Some Sacred Needed",WWF-INDIA, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp 2-3, May,1999
The author has discusses impact of human activities on the protected forests and also suggests means and ways to save the forest from such disturbances. He feels that it is very important to immediately launch a force that can save the forests from plunder and destruction.

Chhabra,T.,"Sacred Context", Down to Earth, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp 46-48, August 15,2002
The ancient rituals of the Todas, a nature worshipping tribe in south India, worked as natural and ecological safeguards to protect the Nilgiri hills from destruction. But today because the forests are destroyed, the Toda culture is in stake.

D.K. Kulkarni,"Threat to Sacred grove conservation tribal pockets of Western Maharashtra",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
In recent years degradation of social and traditional value associated with natural surroundings has accelerated with developmental activities. It impact on conservation of nature and sustainable use of natural resources is alarming during past three decades. Religiously preserved forest patches, known as sacred groves or Devrais, or Deo Rahat are our natural legacies for last several generations. Quite a large number of sacred groves occur in Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Many of them are disturbed due to ever increasing demands of the society and activities like road construction, displacement of local people, or are submerged in irrigation projects. These activities are creating threat to sacred conservation in tribal pockets. Mounting biotic interference and changing social and religious values of the tribal communities have augmented degradation of natural wealth in sacred groves preserved since ancient era. Restoration of sacred groves by creating awareness among people and incorporation of NGOs motivated for peoples participation will be the solution for environmental conservation. Present paper deals with degradation of sacred groves due to dam construction in tribal pockets, its environmental impact on tribal communities and their traditional knowledge of plants and loss of valuable germplasm of plant resources.

Das, A.K., and Raha, M.K.,"The Oraons of Sunderban",Bulletin of Cultural Research Institute, pp. 240-343,1963
In the Sundarban area, the Oraon tribals have no temple as that of the Hindus, but have than i.e., sacred spot marked for the village deities. Besides sheds of Devi Mai, they also have one or more sal (Shorea robusta) groves or solitary trees, constituting the shrine of the village deities. The place of worship is generally situated in the centre of the village, is regularly cleaned and plastered with cow dung paste by the assistant of the Pahan.

Das, K., and Malhotra, K.C.,"Sacred Groves among the Tribes of India: A Literature Survey of Ethnographic Monographs", Integrated Rural Development of Weaker - Sections in India, Semiliguda, Mimeograph,1998
The authors studied 36 monographs on the tribes belonging to Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal; among whom sacred groves are found. For each tribe a brief description of the sacred groves are given.

Das, S.K., P.S. Rao and D.B.S. Rao,"Sacred and Protected Groves of Andhra Pradesh",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
The concept of conservation of nature has been carefully woven into religious and customs in India, from time immemorial. Sacred groves are good examples how religious beliefs have been instrumental in conservation of nature. Sacred groves are tracts of virgin forests, harbouring varying biodiversity and extending all the benefits that forests offer to mankind people considered everything in sacred grove as serene and maintained the groves intact for centuries. Human beings had reverence for all forms of life from ancient times. Certain plants like Ficus sp. were worshipped throughout India. Other plants like Alstonia scholaris, Plumaria alba, Srtychnos nux-vomica, Hopea parviflora, Aegle marmelos and Borassus flabellifer found in sacred groves have been worshipped by people. Sacred groves have been considered as repositories of biological diversity and shelter for endemic, rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. They also provide dwelling place for many useful organisms like pollinators and predators of various pests. Sacred groves also act as store house for medicinal plants and source of water for surrounding areas. They provide information on the past vegetation of a particular area and help in selection of suitable selection of suitable tree species for afforestation of a specific locality. There are many people depending on sacred groves, for their day-day life. The survey conducted by WWF-India, Andhra Pradesh State Office during 1995 revealed that, there were over 800 sacred groves exiting in Andhra Pradesh, which spread over 23 districts. They also found that 100 of these sacred groves were rich in bio-diversity. In addition to survey, the WWF-India, A.P. State Office also examined the status of the sacred groves and various threats for their existence and remedial measures. The studies have revealed that, the sacred groves in Andhra Pradesh are deteriorating at an alarming rate due to changes in religious beliefs, socio-economic scenario, increasing human population and developmental pressures. Some of the temples associated with sacred groves have been modernized or reconstructed by removing the vegetation. The suggested measures for protection of sacred groves includes fencing them, so as to reduce grazing and human intervention; reforestation of degraded groves, creation of buffer zone around the groves and declaring them as Biosphere Reserves or Heritage Sites.

Deb, D., and Malhotra, K.C.,"Interface between biodiversity and tribal cultural heritage: An exploratory study",Hum, J.., Ecol., 8(3), 157-163,1997
The use of forest products for socio-religious purposes has hardly been brought into focus. In this study, concerning indigenous forest use patterns in the Indian context, the bio-resources used by five West Bengal tribes have been identified. The study also reports for the first time the existence of a number of evanescent sacred groves in West Bengal. An inventory of the flora and fauna which are protected through taboos has also been produced.

Deb, D., Deuti, K., and Malhotra, K.C.,"Sacred grove relics as bird refugia",Current Science, 73(10), 815-817,1997
The observations are a fall out of an ethno-biological survey conducted from early April to end-June, 1996 in Jamboni, Jhargram, Gidhni, Belpahari and Banspahari Forest Ranges of western Midnapore district. A total of 42 species of resident land birds were sighted in the sal forests, sacred groves, farm fields and vegetations in the region.

Deshmukh, S., Gogate, M.G., and Gupta, A.K.,"Sacred groves and biological diversity : Providing new dimensions to conservation issues",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 415-421,1998
The authors in this paper pose several questions and issues related to conservation and development of sacred groves in Maharashtra. They also provide criteria for genetic conservation based on primary information on each of the sacred groves that exist today.

Dudley, N., L.Higgins-Zogib, and S. Mansourian,"The Links between Protected Areas, Faith and Sacred Natural Sites",Conservation Biology, Vol.23, No.3, pp. 568-577,2009
Most people follow and are influenced by some kind of spiritual faith. We examined two ways in which religious faiths can in turn influence biodiversity conservation in protected areas. First, biodiversity conservation is influenced through the direct and often effective protection afforded to wild species in sacred natural sites and in semi natural habitats around religious buildings. Sacred natural sites are almost certainly the world's oldest form of habitat protection. Although some sacred natural sites exist inside official protected areas, many thousands more form a largely unrecognized "shadow" conservation network in many countries throughout the world, which can be more stringently protected than state-run reserves. Second, faiths have a profound impact on attitudes to protection of the natural world through their philosophy, teachings, investment choices, approaches to land they control, and religious-based management systems. We considered the interactions between faiths and protected areas with respect to all 11 mainstream faiths and to a number of local belief systems. The close links between faiths and habitat protection offer major conservation opportunities, but also pose challenges. Bringing a sacred natural site into a national protected-area system can increase protection for the site, but may compromise some of its spiritual values or even its conservation values. Most protected-area managers are not trained to manage natural sites for religious purposes, but many sacred natural sites are under threat from cultural changes and habitat degradation. Decisions about whether or not to make a sacred natural site an "official" protected area therefore need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Such sites can play an important role in conservation inside and outside official protected areas. More information about the conservation value of sacred lands is needed as is more informed experience in integrating these into wider conservation strategies. In addition, many protected-area staff need training in how to manage sensitive issues relating to faiths where important faith sites occur in protected areas.

Dudley, N., L.Higgins-Zogib, and S. Mansourian,"The Links between Protected Areas, Faith and Sacred Natural Sites",Conservation Biology, Vol.23, No.3, pp. 568-577,2009
Most people follow and are influenced by some kind of spiritual faith. We examined two ways in which religious faiths can in turn influence biodiversity conservation in protected areas. First, biodiversity conservation is influenced through the direct and often effective protection afforded to wild species in sacred natural sites and in semi natural habitats around religious buildings. Sacred natural sites are almost certainly the world's oldest form of habitat protection. Although some sacred natural sites exist inside official protected areas, many thousands more form a largely unrecognized "shadow" conservation network in many countries throughout the world, which can be more stringently protected than state-run reserves. Second, faiths have a profound impact on attitudes to protection of the natural world through their philosophy, teachings, investment choices, approaches to land they control, and religious-based management systems. We considered the interactions between faiths and protected areas with respect to all 11 mainstream faiths and to a number of local belief systems. The close links between faiths and habitat protection offer major conservation opportunities, but also pose challenges. Bringing a sacred natural site into a national protected-area system can increase protection for the site, but may compromise some of its spiritual values or even its conservation values. Most protected-area managers are not trained to manage natural sites for religious purposes, but many sacred natural sites are under threat from cultural changes and habitat degradation. Decisions about whether or not to make a sacred natural site an "official" protected area therefore need to be made on a case-by-case basis. Such sites can play an important role in conservation inside and outside official protected areas. More information about the conservation value of sacred lands is needed as is more informed experience in integrating these into wider conservation strategies. In addition, many protected-area staff need training in how to manage sensitive issues relating to faiths where important faith sites occur in protected areas.

Ekka, W., and Danda, A.K.,"The Nagesia of Chattishgarh",Anthropological Survey of India, Memoir No: 58. Calcutta,1984
The deities of Nagesia tribe reside in Sarna, a grove of sal trees (Shorea robusta) of the mouja. It is here that these deities are mostly worshipped. Supernatural fear prevents the people from cutting trees of the Sarna.

Elwin, V.,"Maria Murder and Suicide",Oxford University Press, London,1943
The religion of the Maria centres round the earth, the state and the clan. On the outskirts of the village will be found the shrine of the village mother and in a grove nearby there may be the temple of one of the clan Gods.

Elwin, V.,"The Muria and Their Ghotul”",Oxford University Press, London,1947
In a few Muria villages, there are no temples. In Almer, there is nothing but a few stone seats under saja trees, where the village Mother is worshipped and the New Eating ceremonies performed. In Kajen the village Mother forbade the erection of any shrine.

Elwin, V.,"The Pardhans of the Upper Narbada Valley",Oxford University Press, London,1946
In Pradhan tribals, Bara Deo (also called Baro Pen, Budha Pen or Burha Deo) is on the whole a good and useful God. His traditional abode is in the forest with saja trees. But for the Pradhans, the Deo has a nearer and more familiar home, his special portable temple, the sacred Bana fiddle.

Elwin, V.,"Bondo Highlander",Oxford University Press, London,1950
Near Bodoballe village of Bondo tribals is a fine sacred grove and in the middle of the settlement a stone shrine for Hundi and several well shaded sindibor. In Mundlipada village in the foothills, is the fine grove of mango trees and the spring called Kingu Bodak. In the midst of the trees is a spring of exquisitely clear water built up on either side with stone walls, while among the surrounding rocks are a number of Menhirs. This is the site of the origin of Bondo tribes. Higher up the hill is another grove where, in a giant banyan at the centre of the grove, is hidden the ancient sacred sword of Pat Khonda Mahapravu , and three times in the year - at Dassera, at full moon of Magh and during the giag-gige, it is brought down and worshipped. The sword has become the symbol of an important local deity. The grove is taboo for entry of women. Within its shade it is forbidden to point with finger, and no one may cut down a tree on pain of death, which the dead will certainly send on the offender.

Elwin, V.,"The Baiga",Gain Publishing House, Delhi,1986
Bara Deo has always been regarded as the chief deity of the Baiga and Gond. Bura Deo, who is supposed to reside in a saj tree, he is worshipped in the month of Jeth (May), when goats, fowl, coconuts, and the liquor of the new mahua crop are offered to him. He lived in an anthill.

Freeman, R.,"Forests and the Folk: Perceptions of Nature in the Swidden Regimes of Highland Malabar", Pondy Papers in Social Sciences, French Institute, Pondicherry,1994
This paper explores the popular attitude towards the forests and its natural resources as reflected in the memories, folk-sources and religious institutions of former swidden agriculturists living in the highlands of Kasar District in Northern Kerala. The central focus of this article is ‘sacred groves’ (Kavu). The groves are subjected to a closer cultural analysis than usual, particularly in light of the frequent claims made of their religiously inspired conservationist rationale.

Fuchs, S.,"The Gond and Bhumia of Eastern Mandala",Asia Publishing House, New York,1960
The Bhumia tribals call their main God, Thakur Deo, who is supposed to have his abode in each Bhumia village, usually in tree. It can be any tree - semur, mahua or sag tree - which the God selects as his home. The Thakur Deo is supposed to keep the village immune from disease and misfortunes and also help the villagers to prosper by securing for them a fair annual harvest.

Gadgil, M.,"Conserving India’s Biodiversity: The Human Context",Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Ed. Khoshoo, T.N., and Sharma, M., pp 243-255, Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi,1992
India with its position at the trijunction of the Ethiopian, Palaearctic and Oriental realms of biogeography, and its great diversity of environmental regimes is one of the world’s top twelve megadiversity countries. The problems of conserving its heritage of biodiversity are exceedingly complex. The monkeys, peepal and banyan trees that characterize much of India’s countryside, as well as the sacred groves and ponds that occur in more restricted tracts owe their existence to the country’s rich traditions of nature conservation. Fresh initiatives should be taken for conserving the biodiversity. This should involve the knowledge of the local people.

Gadgil, M.,"Folk Traditions in the Management of Biological Resources",Congress on Traditional Science and Technologies in India, pp. 3.5 - 3.12, IIT, Bombay,1993
In this paper a comparison has been made between the traditional or folk practices of natural resource management of the ecosystem people with the modern, so-called scientific practices of the biosphere people.

Gadgil, M.,"Grassroots Conservation Practices: Revitalizing the Traditions",Communities and Conservation: Natural Resource Management in South and Central Asia, pp 219-238, New Delhi,1998
Biodiversity elements of value are by no means confined to extensive tracts of pristine ecosystem; they may occur even in the midst of extensively humanized landscapes such as sacred groves. It is important to encourage local communities to maintain biodiversity through appropriated financial rewards.

Gadgil, M.,"Husbanding India’s natural resources: The Tradition and Prospects", Contemporary Indian Tradition, In: Bondin, C.M. (ed.), Contemporary Indian Tradition, Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington & London, pp. 323-331,1989
Sacred groves had been preserved over time mainly on the basis of religious beliefs. The benefits of sacred groves accrue to the social group on a long-term basis. The concept of sacred grove is undoubtedly an ancient tradition. In this article the author describes a sacred grove at Gani village located in a remote area of Konkan, in Maharashtra. . The grove had been preserved over time not because of any economic or practical arguments but rather on the basis of religious beliefs. The author argues that the benefits of groves accrue to the social group on a long-term basis.

Gadgil, M.,"Heritage of a conservation ethic",In: Allchin, B., Allchin, F.R., and Thapar, B.K., (eds.), Conservation of an Indian Heritage, Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, pp. 13-22,1989
The traditional Indian society had elaborated an organization of resource use that strongly favoured prudent utilization of natural resources over a wide cross-section of the Indian society. This had fostered a widespread ethic of conservation that has been rudely shaken by the impact of the British industrial society over the last two centuries. The most notable of such traditions are sacred groves totally inviolate to any human interference and village groves where only limited, regulated use by members of a local community is permitted.

Gadgil, M.,"The Indian caste system as a historical adaptation: An ecological perspective", New Quest, pp. 279-283,1983
The Indian caste organization is intimately related to a variety of cultural practices, imposing social restraints on the utilization of natural resources and was responsible for the Indian society to reach an ecological steady state.

Gadgil, M.,"The Indian heritage of a conservation ethic",In: B. Allchin, E.R. Allchin and B.K. Thapar ed., Conservation of the Indian Heritage, pp. 13-22, Cosmo Publications, New Delhi,1989
India possesses a rich conservation ethic to which we owe the continued existence of many facets of the country’s natural heritage. In order to review our understanding of India’s cultural heritage of a conservation ethic and to continue the conservation, this article discusses about the nature worship, forest, tribal tradition, caste system, western tradition etc., of India.

Gadgil, M.,"Saving Subcontinent’s Wealth",The Hindu Survey of the Environment, pp. 140-141,1991
India has a wealth of biodiversity that needs to be conserved. Any conservation measure taken will have a long-term effect only when the local people are involved.

Gadgil, M.,"Social restraints on resource utilisation: The Indian experience",In: McNeely, J.A., and Pitt, D., (eds.), Culture and Conservation - The Human Dimension in Environmental Planning, Croom Helm, London, pp. 135-154,1985
The author in this paper argues that an understanding of the conditions under which human societies did evolve effective methods of prudent utilization of the resources, and of the circumstances under which these practices broke down. The author gives several specific examples of various practices of restraints on the exploitation of wild plant and animal resources being practiced by the Indian society. The examples include among other aspects, sacred groves, pools and ponds from the Indian sub-continent.

Gadgil, M.,"Traditional Resource Management Systems",Resource Management and Optimization, Vol 8 (3-4), pp.127-141,1991
Traditional resource management systems involved people and such community-based resource management systems worked because of the presence of appropriate common property institutions. These systems are consistent with the ecosystem view and current ecological theory.

Gadgil, M.,"Traditional conservation practices",In: Nierenberg, W.A., (ed.), Encyclopedia of Environmental Biology, Academic Press, pp. 423-425,1995
The author reports a number of cultural traditions from India, which have exhibited deliberate restraints on resource harvests that have promoted the sustainable use of biological resources and the conservation of biodiversity in many different places and times. The author illustrates this by giving examples of sacred groves.

Gadgil, M., Hemam, N.S., and Reddy, B.M.,"People, refugia and resilience",In: C. Folke and F. Berkes (ed.) Linking Social and Ecological System, pp. 30-47, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,1997
Modern resource management practices are based on explicitly stated rationale. The authors demonstrate that practices leading to sustainable use may be arrived at through a trial-and-error process based on very simple rules. Secondly, they present a case study of a resource conservation practice (sacred groves) grounded in religious beliefs that was abandoned and then revived essentially in the original form when the community realized its value in the provision of ecosystem services.. A case study of villages of Gangte, a group of Kuki tribe in Churachandpur district, Manipur state in northeastern India is discussed for the above mentioned objectives.

Gadgil, M., and Chandran, M.D.S.,"Sacred Groves",Indigenous Vision Peoples of India Attitudes to the Environment, pp. 185-187, New Delhi,1992
Sacred groves are one of the finest examples of traditional conservation practices and were centres of cultural and religious life for people of the old world. These sacred groves need to be protected and restored.

Gadgil, M., and Vartak, V.D.,"Groves dedicated to the Gods",The Illustrated Weekly of India, p. 21,1973
It is a common practice in India to dedicate a patch of forest land (grove), to the local God. These groves are a haven for birds and animals and also preserve many plants that are on the verge of extinction.

Gadgil, M., and Chandran, M.D.S.,"Sacred Groves", India International Centre Quarterly, 19(1-2), 183-187,1992
Ecologists, of late, have come out with studies on the remarkable systems of resource management by many traditional societies, which, while based on simple rules of the thumb, in many ways parallel the modern ecosystem approach. Such societies existed in different countries. Sacred groves are one of the finest instances of traditional conservation practices.

Gadgil, M., and Gokhale,Y.,"Sacred Elements of Nature in India",Setting Biodiversity Conservation Priorities for India, pp. 691 - 707, WWF - India,2000
Since we began walking on this planet, humans have marvelled at the dramatic transformative properties of trees and other plants. Most sacred trees for transformation are those connected to legends of being favoured by God. Shamans to facilitate healing and transformation have traditionally used sacred trees.

Gadgil, M., and Thapar, R.,"Human ecology in India - some historical perspectives",Interdisciplinary Science Review, 15(3): 209-223,1990
Before the spread of extensive cultivation, the Indian subcontinent would have been inhabited by territorial hunter-gatherers and shifting cultivators with cultural traditions of prudent resource use. The disruption of closed material cycles by export of agricultural produce to centres of non-agricultural population would have weakened these traditions. Indeed, the fire-based sacrificial ritual and extensive agricultural settlements might have catalyzed the destruction of forests and wildlife and the suppression of tribal peoples.

Gadgil, M., and Vartak, V.D.,"Sacred groves of India: A plea for continued conservation",Journal of Bombay Natural History Society,72: 314 – 320,1975
The authors illustrate the phenomenon of sacred groves with the help of two examples from Maharashtra; one, a grove of the Goddess Janni at Mangaon in Velhe taluka of Poona district and the second, a grove of the Goddess Kalkai at Gani in Shrivardhan taluka of Kolaba district. Scattered, apparently throughout India, are a large number of forest tracts, which have remained immune from human interference because of religious beliefs. As deforestation has been taking place at a rapid rate in many areas, such forests have come to be the only remnants of the original forest in a number of cases.

Gadgil, M., and Vartak, V.D.,"Sacred Groves of Maharashtra: An Inventory", Glimpses of Indian Ethnobotany, pp 279-294, Oxford and IBH Publishing House, New Delhi.,
There are several sacred groves in Maharashtra. These groves are of great use to the local inhabitants, and they also are the reservoirs of biological diversity.Authors present here an inventory of the sacred groves or Devrais of the State of Maharashtra. Detailed information on the location, area and associated deity is available for 233 groves from the districts of Thana, Kolaba, Jalgaon, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Yewatmal, Bhandara and Chandrapur.

Gadgil, M., and Vartak,V.D.,"The Sacred Groves of Western Ghats in India",Economic Botany, pp 206-214,
The sacred groves of Western Ghats are large and often preserve the rich monsoon forest with its tremendous biological diversity. It is important to preserve these sacred groves on a permanent basis by setting them as a network of preservation plots under the jurisdiction of the forest department.

Gandhi, I.,"Sacred Groves of Hope", Green Earth, Vol. I, No. 10, pp. 12-13,1996
Sacred groves serve as repositories of biological diversity for several years. They need to be preserved not only for aesthetic appeal but also for economic reasons.

Gandhi, K.,"Kesar Chirkav - Traditional system of forest protection",Newsletter, Sevamandir. Udaipur,1997
Kesar Chirkav (sprinkling saffron) is a traditional system of forest protection, wherein saffron is sprinkled over the forests and the felling of green wood is prohibited in the area. This tradition finds it origin from the temple of "Kesariyaji" a place of worship for the Bhil tribal community living in Udaipur District, Rajasthan.

Ganesan, S., Ponnuchamy, M., Kesavan, L., and A. Selvaraj,"Floristic composition and practices on the selected sacred groves of Pallapatty village (Reserved forest), Tamil Nadu",Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol.8, No.2, pp. 154-162,2009
Field studies on floristic composition and ethnobotanical practices of the sacred groves of in and around Pallapatty village, Madurai district of Tamil Nadu were undertaken. A total of 133 plant species belonging to 113 genera distributed among 51 families were recorded. The mode of mythical and therapeutic uses and conservation practices of these plants by the local people has been discussed.

Ghate, V.,"Approaches for conservation of sacred groves: studies on environmentally sensitive groves of Pune district",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Recent World Bank report on sacred groves of Maharashtra brings on record twenty-six hindered sacred groves with special recommendations for conservation of seventy-five environmentally active sacred groves. Criteria for selection of these sacred groves mainly were area of grove and anthropogenic pressures. Information on values of floristic diversity in groves however, war not taken into consideration. Attempts are being made at Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) to evaluate floristic diversity of nineteen such environmentally sensitive groves from Pune district, Maharashtra, specially emphasizing economically and notionally valuable species. Preliminary visits to nineteen sacred groves revealed that ten groves are really virgin and rich in biodiversity. Out of remaining nine groves, one was totally submerged in dam and others are under pressure of human interference and fast depleting. In spite of these pressures, they indicate occurrence of valuable species endemics. The main approaches towards conservation are: 1) declare them as conservatories and 2) to make people aware about their future resources.

Ghildiyal, J.C., S. Bisht, and R. Jadli,"A contribution to the Biological Diversity of Tarkeshwar Sacred Grove in Garhwal Himalayas",The Indian Forester, Vol.134, No.6, pp. 789-799,2008
Tarkeshwar, a sacred grove in Garhwal Himalays is situated in Tarasar Reserve Forest occupying 825.5 hectares in Garhwal Forest Division out of which 314 hectares are generally considered as sacred grove. The sacred grove is named on the presence of a centrally located 600 years old temple of Lord Shiva called Tarasar or Tarakeshwar. There are many legends and myths which are associated with this sacred grove according to the nearby villagers. Ina round the year collection this sacred grove revealed 372 taxa of phanerograms and cryptograms. Out of 372 plant species, 311 were angiosperms, 4 gymnosperms, 16 pteridophytes, 15 bryophytes, 23 fungal species. Amongst angiosperms, 261 were dicots belonging to 78 families and 50 were monocots belonging to 10 families. The dominant family of angiosperms in the area was Asteraceae followed by Fabaceae, Laminaceae, Acanthaceae, Rosaceae, Polygonaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Scorphulariaceae, Urticaceae, Amaranthaceae and Cucurbitaceae. The most dominant genera were Ipomea and Hypericum.

Godbole, A., Watve, A., Prabhu, S., and Sarnaik, J.,"Role of sacred groves in conservation with local people's participation: A case Study from Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 233-246,1998
The authors in this paper report results of an action-oriented case study undertaken is 11 sacred groves of Sangameshwar Tehsil of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra. The article gives a list of floral species found in these groves as well as the typology of sacred groves.

Gokhale, Y.,"Management of Kans in the Western Ghats of Karnataka",In: Shaanker, R., Ganeshaiah, K. N. and Bawa, K. S. (eds), Forest Genetic Resources: Status, Threats, and Conservation Strategies, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 570-573,2001
Kans are the patches of historical sacred evergreen forests in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Author reviews here the historical management status of kans in Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts with reference to Sorab taluk and Sidapur taluk respectively. Author explores the joint relationship of local people and the state forest department in the earlier management system and compare that with the present day programme of Joint Forest Management.

Gokhale, Y.,"Use of Plants as indicator of Management of Sacred Groves in the Western Ghats of Karnataka",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,,2004
The Western Ghats of India is amongst the biodiversity hotpots in the world known for its high endemism of species. The central part of the Western Ghats lying in Karnataka State is known for close association of local people sacred groves of evergreen forests. These abundant but small sacred patches of evergreen forests are getting influenced by chancing basis of livelihood and market economy. The faith of people with the groves is seldom affected but economic factors have altered the vegetation in some of the groves. In spite of this impact sacred groves remain to be storehouses of endemic and evergreen species of the Western Ghats. The study of vegetation ecology can be of use to identify the status of scared groves in terms of undisturbed and disturbed forests using attributes of plant species such a s endemic, evergreen, non timber forest produce and timber species used locally. The paper is based on intensive work in 97 sacred groves in Siddapur taluk of Uttara Kannada district.

Gokhale, Y., Velankar, R., Chandran, M.D.S., and Gadgil, M.,"Sacred woods, grasslands and waterbodies as self-organised systems of conservation",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 365-398,1998
Authors have examined the history and current status of sacred sites based on collaborative studies in several states of the country. The studies suggest a steep decline in the coverage of sacred land and, water areas of the country. Authors analyse the available evidence of erosion, as also of persistence and special cases of revival or new emergence within this framework.

Gokhale,Y.,"Biodiversity as a Sacred Space",Hindu Folio,2001
Many of our Indian societies have developed strategies of conserving and managing nature and natural resources. Of all these, conservation of natural vegetation in the form of sacred groves is the most celebrated one.

Gold, A.G., and Gujar, B.R.,"Of Gods, trees and boundaries: Divine conservation in Rajasthan",Asian Folklore Studies, 48, 211-229,1989
Although the authors in this do not deal explicitly with sacred groves, but give a vivid description of several stories from Rajasthan that illustrate the cultural conviction that deities can and will protect the purity and intequity of their domains, either reinforcing the efforts of devotees or independently of human efforts.

Gopikumar, K., Carmel Rani, Luckins C.Babu and C.K. Peethambaran,"Phyosociological studies of a Sacred grove at Mannarashala, Kerala",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
A serious of investigations was carried out in very famous sacred grove at Mannarashala, Alappuzha district of Kerala, with an objective to study the flora and to enlist them based on morphology and growth habits. The soil nutrient status of the grove was also dealt with. The study of the sacred grove area comprises 105 plant species. Out of these, 49 were arborescent in nature. The dominant tree species were Vateria indica, Holigarna arnottiana and Samadera indica. Almost all the species in the grove possess some medicinal properties. About nine wild relatives of cultivars and ten endemic species of plants were found to occur in the grove. The dominant family in the study area was Apocynaceae with more number of species. But Dipterocarpaceae had the maximum number of individuals. Moraceae, Rubiaceae etc, also had good representation. Palmae was also represented well with Caryota urens as the main species. It was found that maximum number of trees was mostly confined to the height class of less than 10 m with 195 individual followed by 91 in 10 to 20 m class, 33 in 20 to 30 m class and 20 in above 30 m class. The above 30 m class was represented mostly by Vateria indica, Holigarna arnottiana, Lophopeallum wighitianum and Hopea ponga. Maximum number of tree species was confined to the lower girth classes with 106 in classes below 30 in 30 to 0 cm class, 56 in 6-0 to 90cm class, 24 in 90 to 120cm class, 16 in 20 to 150cm, 11 in 50 to180cm and 27 in above 180 cm class. The structural data of vegetation indicate the association of Samadera indica and Vaeria indica. Kologarna arnotiana and Hydrocarpus pentandra closely follows. The floristic diversity was found to be 0.92. He presents study also indicated profuse regeneration odd species like Holigarna arnottiana and Hopea ponga. Artocarpus hirsutus, Adenanthera pavonina and Vateria indica also showed relatively good regeneration status.

Griffiths, W.G.,"The Kol tribe of Central India",The Asiatic Society, Calcutta,1909
Kol tribals quite often think of Barum Baba as an evil spirit. In the Kaimur hills it is said that he always lives in the pipal trees. No image or sign of his presence is made. It was also asserted that he likes to have the sacred thread hung on the tree in which he is found. Animals are never sacrificed to him. As far as possible Kols avoid trees inhabited by him particularly after dark.

Guha, U., Siddiqui, M.K.A., and Mathur, P.R.G.,"The Didayi – A Forgotten Tribe of Orissa",Anthropological survey of India, Memoir No. 23, Calcutta,1968
Didayi tribals have their deities associated with hill ranges. They also have folklores associated with these hill ranges. The deities in these hills help them during hunting expeditions.

Gupta, A.K.,"Policy and Institutional aspects of sacred groves: tending the spirit, sustaining the sacred",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G. & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 397-414,1998
In this paper the author argues that the concept of sacredness is at the very root of our civilization. Whenever consciousness and any boundary of sacredness in violated, we are reduced to that extent in our civil consciousness.

Gurdon, P.R.T.,"The Khasis",Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London,1914
In the vicinity of Khasi village, often, just below the brow of the hill are to be seen darkwoods of oak and other trees. These are the sacred groves. Here the villagers worship U ryngkew U basa, the tutelary deity of the village. These groves are taboos and it is an offence to cut trees there in for any purpose other than for performing funeral obsequies. The groves are generally not more than a few hundred yards away from the villages. The War villages nestle on the hillsides of the southern border, and are to be seen peeping out from the green foliage with which the southern slopes are clad. In the vicinity of, and actually up to the houses, in the War villages, are to be observed large groves of areca nut, often twined with the pan creeper and of plantation trees, which much enhance the beauty of the scene. Looking at a War village from a distance a darker shade green is seen; this denotes the limits of the extensive groves. It is believed that the spirits of the dead, whose funeral ceremonies have been duly performed, go to the house or garden of God, where there are groves of betel nut trees hence the expression for the departed, Uba ba kwai ha iing u blei (he who is eating betelnut in God's house), the idea of supreme happiness to the Khasi being to eat betel-nut uninterruptedly. They never symbolise their Gods by means of images, their worship being offered to the spirit only.

Hajra, D.,"The Dorla of Bastar",Anthropological Survey of India, Memoir No. 17. Calcutta,1970
The important Gods and Goddesses of the Dorla tribals are commonly included in their pantheon are - Mutta-lemma, Gamam, Kora, Ganga namma and Murpu. They are enshrined within the settlement; sometimes a few of them viz., Kora and Ganganamma are found to be placed in the outskirt jungle. All these Gods and Goddesses are found commonly in almost all the Dorla villages. They are worshipped regularly on important festivals and religious functions. They are enshrined under some trees like saja, mahua, semur, tendu etc. Except gamam and Murpu, all others are represented by some stones, usually flat in nature. Except Gamam, all these are thought to be of female sex. Though most of them are worshipped in important religious festivals, some specific festivals are associated with some of them.

Hajra, P.K.,"The Sacred Groves on the Khasis",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
In Khasi hills the belief in sacred groves ins a very potent factor in the preservation of patches of evergreen forest. It is to this belief we owe the remains of the once covering of vegetation, which has now almost disappeared.

Hajra, P.K.,"Plants in Magico Religious Beliefs and in Sanskrit Literature",A Manual of Ethnobotany, Ed. S.K.Jain, pp 98-103, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1987
A magico-religious belief is a system of good or evil faith and worship of supernatural beings and explaining everything in this universe as an act of supernatural beings. Magico-religious specialists used many plants to cure various diseases. All these plants were usually obtained from the nearby sacred grove. Plants have also been mentioned in many of the Sanskrit literature.

Hajra, P.K.,"Law-Lyngdoh-Mawphlang",1975
The Law-Lyngdoh or sacred grove near the village of Mawphlang in Shillong is a natural treasure house of plants and offers excellent scope not only for the professional botanists and naturalist but also for all those interested in plants and natural landscapes.

Harsh Singh, Agnihotri, P. and Tariq Husain,Haat Kali sacred grove, Central Himalaya, Uttarakhand, Current Science, Vol. 98, Issue 3, Pp. 290. ,
Sacred groves are (small or large) patches of vegetation of varying sizes, conserved on the basis of the religious beliefs of the community. In India 13,720 sacred groves have been identified from 19 states and named differently in various parts of India as Law lyngdhoh in Meghalaya, Kovil Kadu in Kanyakumari, Dev Bhumi in Uttarakhand, etc.

Iyer, S.M.,"Iyarkaiyin Paadhugappukku Iniya Pasuncholaigal",Thittam,1998
Even today the sacred groves are protected because of the people’s fear and respect of God. These sacred groves play a vital role in safeguarding nature.

Jagannathan, M,"How the Sacred Groves Concept has been evolved?",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
In India, the practice of worshipping plants dates back to 3000 B.C. to 5000 B.C. People learnt to cultivate plants and domesticate animals, about 10,000 years ago. Shifting cultivation practised earlier gave way to cultivation in specific farmlands, which needed natural vegetation surrounding these lands to act as source of manure. There was a belief that, all creations of nature had to be protected. Such beliefs preserved several virgin forests in pristine form and any intervention with such forests were forbidden. Many species trees were considered Sacred in Indian societies, for example, Santhals of Bihar worshipped Mahua (Bassia latifolia) and Kadamba (Authocephalus cadamba); the tribals of Orissa and Bihar worshipped Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) and Mango tree (Magnifera indica). Many species of Ficus were worshipped throughout India. It was also believed that, certain species of trees symbolize specific Gods and such trees were also worshipped.

Jamir, S.A. and Pandey, H.N.,"Status of Biodiversity in the Sacred Groves of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya",The Indian Forester, Vol. 128, No. 7, pp. 738-744, Dehradun, July,2002
The sacred groves of Meghalaya are remnant patches of the ancient forest conserved by the local indigenous inhabitants due to religious and cultural values attached to them. They retain most of the rich floristic components of the region. The selective removal of certain tree species and construction of footpaths and motor roads through the groves pose a serious threat to the biodiversity and the very existence of these groves.

Jha, M., Vardhan, H., Chatterjee, S., Kumar, K. and Sastry, A.R.K.,"Status of Orans (Sacred Groves) in Peepasar and Khejarli villages in Rajasthan",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 263-275,1998
In this paper the authors give descriptions of Orans (sacred groves) in two villages - Peepasar and Khejarli - of Nagaur and Jodhpur districts, respectively of Rajasthan. The four well-preserved Orans in Peepasar cover an area of 36.8 ha (range 2.08 ha to 17.18 ha) while the one degraded Orans in Khejarli cover an area of 157.56 ha. Both villages are inhabited by Bishnois. The paper gives a historical account of the Orans as well as the area, species composition and nature of resource use in the Orans. They also suggest several strategies for conservation of the Orans.

Joshi, N.V., and Gadgil, M.,"On the role of refugia in promoting prudent use of biological resources",Theoretical Population Biology, 40(2): 211-229,1991
The authors explore a model of utilization in a pre-market economy of a biological resource population by a social group, which is the sole owner of the resource. The group is assumed to be motivated to derive as large a harvest as possible while at the same time attempting to keep the risk of extinction of the resource population at a low level. It is shown that this can most likely be achieved through total protection of the resource population in parts of its range set aside as refugia. Many primitive societies indeed follow this strategy, which deserves to be given more serious attention as a tool for the management of renewable resources.

Kadamban, D.,"Biocultural Perspectives and Plant Diversity of Sacred Groves and Traditional Medicinal Knowledge in Pondicherry Environs",pp 1-149, Pondicherry,1998
Traditional knowledge is a cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs handed down through generations by cultural transmission. Within traditional knowledge, traditional botanical knowledge is the total information of utilitarian, ecological and cognitive values of both plants and vegetation and their management. The ecological traditions are the summation of millennia of ecological adaptations of people to their diverse environment. There are 80 sacred groves were selected for the study along the Coromandel Coast of India between Marakkanam to Pondicherry.

Kalam, M.A.,"Devarkadus (Sacred Groves )and Encroachments",Mountain Biodiversity, Land Use Dynamics and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, pp 98-119, New Delhi,2000
The sacred groves found in Kodagu districts are locally known as devarakadus. These devarakadus are gradually declining due to encroachments. Any kind of human impact on forests can be designated as encroachment.

Kalam, M.A.,"Sacred groves in Kodagu district of Karnataka",Pondy paper on Social Sciences, French Institute, Pondicherry,1996
This paper traces the way Devara Kadus, sacred groves, in Kodagu district of Karnataka, have been affected since the latter half of the last century. In 1905 the Forest Department handed over the management of the Devara Kadus to the Revenue Department. After a period of eighty years, Devara Kadus were declared as Reserve Forests and a notification was issued by the Karnataka Government to hand over the Devara Kadus back to the Forest Department. In spite of the 1985 Notification the Devara Kadus have not been returned, formally, to the Forest Department. Currently there appears to be a dual control over them. The Forest Department, however, has gone ahead and surveyed and demarcated some of the Devara Kadus. At present concerted attempts are on to vegetarianism the deities in the Devara Kadus and to convert them into hal mathu hannu (milk and fruit) deities. Human interventions and encroachments of various kinds and degrees are in direct conflict with romanticised notions of the Devara Kadus as patches set aside for conservation. Those most affected are the ones that are in close proximity to human habitations.

Kannan C.S. Warrier,"Sacred Groves conserved by an ancestral home in south Kerala A case Study",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Alappuzha is the smallest district in Kerala with a high population density and is the only district in the state without natural forests. However, sacred groves generally known as Kavu varying in size from small patches of few trees to many acres exist in the area. The sacred groves of the districts attract utmost attentions as they only remnants of evergreen forests once present. The current paper described the status of sacred groves conserved by the authors family at Haripad near Mannarasala, one of the famous serpent worship temples in Kerala. The household is bounded on three sides by sacred groves (Sarpakavu) of around 3600m2 and covers 30 per cent of the land area out of the three Grove, two are dedicated to serpent deities and the third one is for Sasthavu (Ayyappan). Traditional poojas are being performed annually for the deities. Two ponds are also being conserved in the area where one is exclusively devoted to the deities. The groves together with the ponds function as a micro-watershed. Though the water levels lower during summer, the wells in the household have never dried up completely. No tree is removed from these groves for commercial purposes. Though no one is permitted to enter into the groves generally, Ulladas the tribal community of the district access the groves clandestinely for canes and collection of firewood and due to there over exploitation, the population of cane has dwindled considerably. Thirty-three species of plants belonging to 31 genera and 23 families have been identified from these three sacred groves and the vegetation typically regeneration was observed mainly for Vateria indica and Samadera indica was observed. The only management practice carried out is digging a small trench around the groves for preventing its extension into the home garden. The area requires complete protection from human interference and is the only way to preserve these priceless treasures of nature. The small number of Ulladas settled in the district generally do not maintain their traditional tribal way of life and have become one with the rest of the society. Hence, they can be made aware of the importance of the vegetation system. There are many small patches of sacred groves in and around Haripad. People who clear the grove (after offering poojas and transferring the deities to the serpent worship temples) for various developmental activities should also be sensitilized to avoid further damage. The temple authorities can play a major role in conserving the existing sacred groves by not accepting the transfer of deities from these groves to the temple.

Karunakran, P.V., M.Balasubramanian and B.R. Ramesh,"Conservation and Management of Sacred Groves in Kerala as Communiy Reserves",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred grove or Sarpakavu represent the major effort to recognize biodiversity traditionally. The longstanding system of every village having a temple, a tank and associated sacred explains the ancient method of water harvesting and resource sharing system. On a rough estimate Kerala has about 1500 sacred groves, which are distinct and biologically unique. Most of the sacred groves represent the relicts of one gregarious region and abundant low-lying evergreen forests of the Western Ghats and distributed in the coastal and midland region of the State. Only very few are reported from the foothills and the high ranges. The size of the sacred grove in Kerala varies as small as one cent to 20 or more hectares. Sacred groves act as refugia for many rare, endemic and endangered species. The fertility of the agro-ecosystems (a common feature associated with sacred groves) is very high due to the humus and nutrients generated in the sacred groves. The major threat to the existence of sacred grove in Kerala is the disappearance of old joint family (tharvadu) system. The second major threat is the anthropogenic activities such as encroachment, cattle grazing, collection of litter, firewood, etc. As the demand for land is always high in Kerala, the shrinkage of sacred grove was one of the inevitable causes. Natural calamities, cutting of trees for construction of temple and associated buildings and cha ages in land use had also resulted in shrinkage of sacred groves in the State. The latest amendment of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 has included two more categories of Pas, of which community reserve is stressing the need to give legal status to the traditional conservation area. Through the perusal of literature and filed survey we have identified 12 sacred groves in the districts of Pathanamthitta, Ernakuam, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod of Kerala to be declared as Community Reserve. The ecological and sociological importance of these groves has been discussed in the paper.

Kesavan, R., and Balasubramanian, A.,"Preservation of Village Temple Forests of Tamilnadu",Kisan World, pp.34-36,1992
There are many village temple forests in Tamilnadu, which harbors a vast number of medicinal plants and shelter of many birds and animals. These forests are degraded by encroachments and are in need of immediate attention.

Khan, L.M., Menon, S., and Bawa, K.S.,"Effectiveness of the protected area network in biodiversity conservation: A case-study of Meghalaya state",Biodiversity and Conservation, 6: 853-868,1997
The North-Eastern region of India is significant for biodiversity conservation because of its floristic richness and high levels of endemism. Deforestation levels are high in region due to anthropogenic pressures. The authors accessed various literature sources to create a database for Meghalaya state containing information on plant species, habit, altitudinal distribution, endemism and endangered status. Information on the existing protected area network (type, extent and altitudinal representation) was added to the database. The database was used to assess the effectiveness of the existing protected area network in conserving the floristic biodiversity of the state. Of a total of 3331 plant species, 1236 (37.11%) are endemic of Meghalaya and 133 (4%) are confined to 'sacred forests'. However, 'sacred forests' are not legally protected areas. Only 32220 ha (1.43% of the state's geographical area) is protected under the category of National Park or Sanctuary. Although 212 species (17.15% of the state's endemic species) occur only in Meghalaya at altitudes above 1500 m, none of the forests at these altitudes are protected as National Parks or Sanctuaries. We conclude that the existing protected are network does not effectively conserve the state's unique biodiversity and suggest measures by which its effectiveness might be increased.

Khan, M.A, Rao, J.V.R., Nagulu, V., and Rao, V.V.,"Eco-biological Considerations in Categorization of Select Sacred Groves of Andhra Pradesh",
The sacred groves of Andhra Pradesh are categorized into 3 units. The first unit is the wayside grove, the second is a sacred grove of year round attendance and third is, were the habitat is intensively used. The study indicates that it is very important to conserve and preserve the biodiversity of these sacred groves.

Khaneghah, A.A.,"Social and Cultural Aspects of Sacred Trees in Iran",Conserving the Sacred For Biodiversity Management, New Delhi,1998
In Iran, the divine sacredness of the trees reflects the desires and whims of man. The trees were considered sacred because of religion and its close linkage with local ecological values.

Kharshi-ing, A., Pebam ocky and P.K. Khatri,"Status and Management of Sacred groves in North- East India",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
The indigenous tribes of Meghalays and the indigenous settlers in the central valley of Manipur in the North eastern part of India have the ago-old traditional of preserving small patches of old-growth forests and trees as part of their culture and religious beliefs. It is known by different names viz., Law Niam in Khasi Hills, Khloo Blai in Janitia Hills and Asheng Khosi in Garo hills of meghalays and as Umang Lai in Manipur. Sacred groves have also been reported to exist in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland also. These groves harbour good number of rare and endemic plants, medical herbs and shrubs that the traditional doctors have been using since time immemorial. In Meghalays, 79 sacred have been documented. These sacred forests in meghalys are larger in area (>900ha with an average area of 50ha) and under the control of the local Dolloiship, Syiemship or Nokmanship and home more than 514 plant species, representing 340 genera and 131 families and offer habitat to at least 50 rare and endangered plant species of the state. But, with drastic change in the outlook of the tribal and ever-increasing population, the survival of sacred groves in a matter of doubt. Although there is a rapid decline in the traditional value system, with the advent of different religious, few of the sacred forests of Maghalays are still well protected (only 12.5 % of the sacred groves covering only 1% of the area of sacred groves). The rest are at various stages of degradation due to susturbances. In Manipur 353 sacred groves still exists and rituals are being performed annually, but expect a few most of the groves are degarted and contain only few trees. The groves in Manipur are comparatively smaller (<1ha to 200 ha) and under the control of the local headman in case of village sacred groves, or the head of clans in case of clan ancestral deity. In Manipur with the ever-increasing population pressure the fate of the groves in the urban and rural area of the valley is at stake although regular annual rituals are still carried out. The loss of faith in the deities of the sacred groves has lead to the negligence and mismanagement of the sacred groves. Thus, there is a need to the revitalize the beliefs of the tribal towards these sacred forests and a community-oriented approach has to be initiated to have a meaningful intervention in protecting the sacred groves.

Khiewtam, R.S., and Ramakrishnan, P.S.,"Socio-cultural studies at the sacred groves at Cherrapunji and adjoining areas in north-eastern India",Man in India, 69: 64-71,1989
The study pertains to the sacred groves locally known as "Law Kuntang" at Cherrapunji and its adjoining areas in Meghalaya in north-eastern India. These represent relict forests of the region maintained by the local people for religious and cultural reasons. Therefore, they are strictly protected. The significance of the sacred grove concept in conserving germ plasm of endangered species, its role as seed source for revegetation of damaged sites and in conservation education for the local people are discussed.

Khurana, I.,"Best kept sacred",Down to Earth, April 1998, pp. 34-39,1998
This paper is based on the interaction the author had with a number of scholars participating in Regional Workshop on "Role of Sacred Groves in Conservation and Management of Biological Diversity" held at the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Kerala in December 1997. The author expresses the views of these scholars on different dimensions of the sacred groves. The author concludes "With changing values, increase in population, development pressure and apathy on the part of the government departments - many of which did not give the concept due merit - sacred groves are fast deteriorating. If steps are not taken to stop their decline, these microcosms will disappear from the face of earth, leaving it deprived of valuable species of flora and fauna. Both Union and state governments should accord high priority to identifying and managing these sources of genetic wealth, and act fast.

Khurana, I.,"Unnatural decline",Down To Earth, Vol. 6, No. 23, pp. 34-38,1998
Sacred groves are declining at an alarming rate across the country due to population pressure, changing value and rapid economic development. It is very important to identify and protect these groves to save nature in its pristine form.

Krishna Murthy, A.V.R.G.,"History of Forests, Forest and Wildlife in India",pp. 6-11, International Council of Scientific Unions, Chennai,1983
Forests have been of great use to humankind and all other organisms right from the ancient times. Excavations from Harappa and Mohenjadaro, reveal the existence of extensively distributed forests. Forests have been mentioned in nearly all the epics, literature, art, sculpture and carvings.

Krishna Murthy, A.V.R.G.,"History of Forests, Forest and Wildlife in India",pp. 6-11, International Council of Scientific Unions, Chennai,1983
Forests have been of great use to humankind and all other organisms right from the ancient times. Excavations from Harappa and Mohenjadaro, reveal the existence of extensively distributed forests. Forests have been mentioned in nearly all the epics, literature, art, sculpture and carvings.

Krishna, N.,"Protecting the Ecology: A Sacred Duty",The New Indian Express, March 3,2002
The rural and tribal people played an active role in the conservation and they considered environmental protection as a sacred duty.

Krishna, N.,"The terracotta tradition of the sacred groves",In: N. Krishna, N., and Prabhakaran, J., (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, C. P. R. Environment Education Centre, Chennai, pp. 76-82,1997
The votive offerings-the horses, bulls, elephants and ram are always made of clay and left in the open to go back to the mud they came from. It is interesting to note that generally only working animals are given as votive offerings. The potter is the priest at the grove. He performs both the ritual of making the terracottas and the ritual of worship at the temple, before the clay figures are offered to Ayyanaar. Potter belongs to Velar or Vishwakarma, (creator of the world) caste. His tools are few-the potter's wheel and his own hand. For the figurines, he uses a mixture of sand, husk and clay, unlike the mixture of sand and clay used for pots.

Krishna, N., and Shankar, V.B.,"Conserving the Ecological Heritage – Sacred Groves of Tamilnadu",XI World Forestry Congress, Vol. 2, Topic. 7, pp. 35-38, Antalya, Turkey, October,1997
The sacred groves of Tamilnadu are the home for the local flora and fauna and represent a mini biosphere reserve, making them an essential part of the conservation process. The article discussed in detail the conservation of the sacred groves by the local people and also traces the role of terracotta, representing Mother Earth, in the worship of the deity within grove.

Krishnan, P.N.,"Sacred Groves of Kerala",
The concept of sacred groves in India has its roots from pre-historic times even before the Vedic age. In Kerala this tradition dates back to 3000 years before the migration of Aryans. People in Kerala lived in villages covered by forest patches called ‘Kaval Kadus’. These forest patches played an important role in balancing the village ecosystem.

Kulkarni, D K and D S Nipunage,Deo-rahati: An ancient concept of biodiversity conservation,
Conservation of Deo-rahati (sacred groves) in India has ancient roots from Vedic period. Even in modern days ethnic groups conserve religiously preserved forest patches through their customs, taboos and local festivals associated with the deities. Therefore, these forest pockets serve the vital function of conserving biological diversity and natural water streams. There is an urgent need of awareness and plantation around the sacred groves to fulfill the need of local people and provide protection to sacred groves.

Kulkarni, D.K., Barve, J.P., Jagdale, R.P., and Inamdar, A.C.,"Floristics of a sacred forest patch from Sundergad district, Orissa state",J. Econ. Tax. Bot., 17(2),1993
The paper gives floristic account of a sacred groves near village Bijadihi (Dist. Sundergad, Orissa State) occupying an area of 0.5 ha. In a sharp contrast to surrounding area which contains rice fields, the sacred grove has a rich varied and storeyed vegetation. Human and animal interference is scrupulously avoided in the grove, resulting in growth of plants of great dimensions.

Kumar, B.A.,"Sacred Groves the Virgin Forests",Science Reporter, Vol. 35, No. 10, pp 10-13, October,1998
There are several sacred groves in India. They are the home of many medicinal plants, they prevent the spread of deserts and has excellent water retention capacity. These sacred groves are deteriorating at an alarming rate due to various reasons. It is very important to preserve the divine treasures of national heritage for future generations.

Kumar, B.M.,"Forestry in Ancient India: Some Literary Evidences on Productive and Protective Aspects",Asian Agri-History, Vol.12, No. 4, pp. 299306,2008
This paper outlines certain ideas of forest conservation and sustainable management ingrained in prehistoric India. Apparently, both productive as well as protective aspects of forest vegetation were emphasized during the Vedic period (~ 4500 and 1800 BC; c. 80001000 BC eds.). In particular, the religious texts such as Aranyakas (forest works), Upanishad, and Smritis contain many descriptions on the uses and management of forests, and highlight sustainability as an implicit theme. According to the Vedic traditions, every village will attain wholeness only when certain types of forests are present. Some of these are, however, equivalent to the protected areas and production forests of today. The concept of participatory forest management, an important forest management paradigm today, also was prevalent in ancient India, as illustrated by the example of a village committee overseeing the maintenance of forests. During the late Vedic period (c. 500 BC; 1000 BC eds.) with the emergence of agriculture as the dominant economic activity, the concept of cultural landscapes such as sacred forests and groves, sacred corridors, and a variety of ethnoforestry practices evolved, which continued into the post-Vedic period (c. 1000 to 200 BC). The Himalayas since Vedic times also have been home for an array of medicinal plants and other resources. Furthermore, several Indian trees and shrubs were regarded as sacred because of their medicinal/aesthetic/natural qualities as well as their proximity to a particular deity. Religion was probably used in ancient India as a tool to protect nature and natural resources and several instances of worshiping the trees have been reported from different parts of the country, besides a wide range of ethnoforestry practices. All these probably highlight the conservation ethos of ancient Indian people.

Kumar, P., K.S. Channabasappa and S.N. Hanchinal,"Sacred Groves: Increasing Disturbance - Declining Diversity of Medicinal Plants",My Forest, Vol. 43, No.3, pp. 423-433,2007
The study was carried out in sacred groves of Sagar and Sorab range during 2004-05 to assess the diversity of medicinal plants and to estimate the extent of loss in terms of natural wealth due to increasing demand in medicinal plants trade. Simpsons index of 0.04 suggests that kans of Sagar was only moderately diverse which was also corroborated by the Shannons index of 3.28. An evenness index of 0.94 indicates that no single species was dominant in this forest. A Simpsons index of 0.02 and Shannons index of 3.49 suggests that the Sorab range was bestowed with moderate diversity and an evenness index of 0.95 indicates no single species dominating these forest areas. The results showed comparatively less richness and diversity in protected forests like sacred groves as against other forest types. Due to over exploitation and uncontrolled developmental activities, there is a danger of loss the last vestiges of well preserved medicinal plants of the country of which sacred groves are notable reserves.

Kumbhojkar, M.S., Upadhye, A.S., and Kulkarni, D.K.,"Religious forest patches among Mahadeo Koli tribal localities - social, cultural and environmental relationships",In: Jain, S.K., (ed.), Ethnobiology in Human Welfare, Deep Publications, New Delhi, pp. 349-351,1996
Forests and tribals have had an intimate relationship from ancient times. Tribals preserve forest patches traditionally on religious grounds, worship forest Gods and maintain lasting relationship with nature. Flora in the forests preserved on the basis of such religious beliefs is rich. These sacred groves in tribal areas are worshipped for different religious functions and play an important role in social and cultural aspects. This tradition also helps to maintain ecological balance and support climax vegetation. Floristic survey of religious forest patches in Maharashtra state has been carried out during the last two decades. The present communication deals with Mahadeo Koli tribe in respect of social, cultural and environmental relationship.

Kushalappa, C.G., and Bhagwat, S.A.,"Sacred groves: Biodiversity, threats and conservation",In: Shaanker, U., Ganeshaiah, R., Bawa, K. N., & Bawa, K.S., (eds), Forest Genetic Resources: Status, Threats, and Conservation Strategies, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 21-29,2001
Authors focus on the sacred groves of Kodagu district in the Western Ghats, south India which perhaps has the highest density of the groves in the world. The groves are named after a variety of Gods and managed by the local village communities. In the recent past, the groves have undergone considerable changes in their physical extent and condition. Between 1905 and 1985, the total area under groves decreased by 42% with about 80% of the groves being less than two hectares in size. Authors inventoried 25 sacred groves and the adjoining reserve forests and coffee plantations for tree, bird and fungal diversity. About 14% of tree species, 26% of bird species and 44% of the fungal morpho types occurred exclusively in the sacred groves. The tree diversity in the groves included many red listed endemic medicinal trees of south India. A new species of fungal genus Xylaria was also reported from the sacred grove.

Kushalappa, C.G., Bhagwat, S.A., and Kushalappa, K.A.,"Conservation and management of sacred groves of Kodagu, Karnataka, SouthIndia – A unique approach",In: Ganeshaiah, K.N., Shaanker, U. & Bawa, K.S., (eds), Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare, Proceedings of the International Conference Tropical Ecosystems, Oxford-IBH, New Delhi., pp. 565-569,2001
The district has 1214 sacred groves covering an area of 2550.45 ha. The density of these groves in the landscape is very high with one grove for every 300 ha of land. Every village has one and in many cases more than one grove. There are 14 villages with more than 10 groves and Thakari village in Somwarpet taluk has the largest number of 17 groves. Though the district has large number of groves, most of them are today very small islands. Out of 1214 groves in Kodagu, 997 groves (80%) are less than 2 ha and there are only 123 groves which are more than 4 ha.

Kushalappa, C.G., N.A.Prakash, S.Raghuvendra, B.N.Satish and K.M.Nanaiah,"Revitalization of sacred forest conservation concept K dagu experiment",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Kodagu district in Central Western Ghats is their unique landscape where both formal and informal conservation concepts are employed for the conservation of biodiversity. Four large protected areas are complimented by 1214 sacred forests representing all the vegetation types in the district. Kodagu is the hot spot of sacred forest tradition with a very large number and very high density (one grove for every three hundred hectares) in the landscape. The sacred forests are also unique with respect to diversity of deities, communities, worship traditions involving dance and music. These forests also serve as centers of socio-cultural diversity involving all the native communities including Muslims. This unique traditional bioi-socio-cultural conservation concept underwent rapid changes both I the physical area are the condition of the grove due o another anthropogenic pressures. The current paper highlights an experiment undertaken in Kodagu to revitalize this unique traditional conservation concept. The approach followed involved the participation of forest department, traditional temple committees, community leaders, research and education institutions, no-governmental organizations, legal experts and media. This initiatives is proposed as a model both in the Karnataka State Biodiversity conservation Strategy an Action Plan (KBSAP) and National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP).

Kushalappa, C.G., S. Raghavendra, N.A. Prakash and Ramakrishna Hegde,"Florestic diversity in Sacred Groves of India and their Conservation Relevance",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred forests are one of the traditional, informal conservation concepts for preserving bio, socio-cultural diversity. These unique community linked conservation concept is being followed in all the agrarian regions of the world and in India. The sacred groves are located in a variety of habitats ranging from resource-rich forested landscapes, such as in the western Ghats and North-Eastern part we made an attempt to review the floristic diversity in sacred groves distributed all through our country. This review work clearly indicates that sacred groves in all the states had the flora of different habits under different habitats. They are not only harboring the common flora but, also they are abodes of threatened and endemic flora. Hence, this informal conservation approach such as sacred groves is gaining lot of importance in conserving all the biological diversity along with the formal conservation approach like government owned protected areas and reserve forests.

Kutty, R.,"Kerala’s Sacred Groves",The Hindu Survey of the Environment, pp 177-180,2001
The kavus and associated ponds constitute unique ecological systems that are integrated with the life and culture of people in Kerala. The belief that gods live in the sacred groves conserved them. But today many sacred groves are threatened and have been altered in terms of size and vegetation structure.

Lakshminarayana, K and Venkaiah, M.,"Biodiversity in the Sacred Groves of Andhra Pradesh",Proceeding of the National Seminar on Conservation of Eastern Ghats, Environmental protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI), Hyderabad,1998
Andhra Pradesh ranks fourth in the countrys state forest area, having 65,000 sq.k.m of forest. Sacred groves are the important places in which the biodiversity is preserved in mostly undisturbed condition. This article is a survey of the sacred groves, situated in north coast of Andhra Pradesh, covering the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakapatnam and East Godavari. Information is gathered from priests and local people about the sacred groves. The sacred groves visited in this research were classified into three categories as, well preserved, less disturbed and disturbed groves. In the above mentioned districts few areas are noticed as well preserved groves, where the flora and fauna are largely present. In less disturbed groves, a little number of flora and fauna are still retained. In disturbed groves the biodiversity is degraded due to urbanization and extension of agricultural lands. It is very excited to note that migratory birds are visiting these groves and the villagers are protecting these migratory birds. It is believed that the arrival of these birds is a good omen and ensures good harvest. The noteworthy feature of the East Godavari district is the presence of mangrove forests in the nearby villages. The ancient people of our country were conscious about the conservation and lead environmentally harmonious. But, now a day, our biological wealth is threatened with over exploitation and devastation of habitats and ecosystems. It is observed that the need of the hour is to take steps to protect the sacred groves, otherwise we may lose priceless heritage passed on to us by our ancestors.

Lakshminarayana, K., Venkaiah, M., Rao, K.S., and Rao, M.U.,"Sacred Groves on North Coastal Andhra Pradesh",In: Abstracts of seminar on Sacred Groves of India – Their Biodiversity Conservation, Hyderabad April 21,1996
The Andhra University undertook a survey and documentation of the sacred groves of North coastal Andhra Pradesh. The sacred groves visited were classified into 3 categories namely, (1) well preserved groves (2) less disturbed groves and (3) disturbed groves. It is evident that a further detailed study of the groves by using standard ecological principles will give much more useful information.

M. Jagannathan,"What are Sacred Groves or Koil Kaadugal and how they came into being?",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred Groves or Koil Kaadugal are found throughout India. They are known in different names in different places. In TamilNadu they are called as Koil Kaadugal, in Kerala they are known as Kavu and in Rajesthan, as Orans. Koil Kaadugal are the repository of rural bio-diversity interwoven with traditional culture, respecting and representing social and religious sentiments. Koil Kadugal; provide suitable habits for local flora and fauna. The Ooran or the pond in the sacred grove acts as source of drinking and potable water for adjoining villages. Since Koil Kadugal are mostly situated in the outskirts of villages, they act as shelter-belts and are beneficial to farmers. The vegetation of Koil Kadugal are of different types evergreen semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending upon the climatic factors. There are many rare endangered and threatened medicinal plants occurring in Koil Kadugal. The taboos and beliefs attached to the vegetation of Koil Kadugal also brought together, the social, cultural and religious perceptions of a region and has remained as source of motivation of generation of past, present and even future, for safeguarding the diversity of ecosystems. In TamilNadu, every village has at least an acre of land dedicated to sacred groves or Koil Kadugal. These Koil Kadugal are associated with various deities, like Ayyannar, who is believed to be the watchman of the village or Amman who symbolizes fertility and good health and other Gods like Muneeswaran,Karuppachamy and Madurai Veeran. Different kinds of offerings are mode for these deities, depending upon their nature and festivals associated with the deities are also celebrated. The sacred groves, the God and the Warriors were worshipped and protected in the name of religious beliefs in ancient TamilNadu and this practice is being continued in many of the non-urbanised villages of the state even now. Such traditional beliefs and practices helped a lot to conserve the flora and fauna in their pristine glory and preserve the great ecological and cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu.

Malhotra, K.C.,"Anthropological dimensions of sacred groves in India: An overview",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S, Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 423-438,1998
In this paper based on both secondary and primary sources, the author provides an overview of the various anthropological dimensions of sacred groves (SGs) in India. The dimensions covered are: the antiquity of SGs; spatial distribution of SGs; number and size of SGs; legal status and management of SGs; ethnicity and SGs; gender and SGs; interface between people and SGs (sacred as well as socio-cultural, economic and political); and areas for future research. The author among several suggestions, suggest that a multi-location action oriented project using different approaches and involving scientists, local communities and NGOs should be initiated in groves which are under threat or being destroyed to see which approach (es) work better.

Malhotra, K.C.,"Are sacred groves a common property resource?",In : Krishna Shetty, K.P., (ed.), A Life’s Journey Forward a Just Society, Image works, Chennai, pp. 77-91,2000
This paper examines whether the concept of common property resources (CPRs) can be extended to the institution of sacred groves. The paper concludes that based on use rights, some types of sacred groves do not fall under CPRs, whereas a large number of the, primarily found among different tribal communities, confirm to the definition of CPRs.

Malhotra, K.C., Chakravarty, K.K., Bhanu, B.V., Chatterjee, S., Deb, D., Gokhale, Y., and Srivastava, S.,"Sacred Groves in India : A Travelling Exhibition",Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal,2000
This booklet gives an overview of the travel exhibition presently housed at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal. The aim of the exhibition is to interact with local organisations and people to learn more about sacred groves- related local management practices and knowledge systems.

Malhotra, K.C., Gokhale, Y., Chatterjee, S., and Srivastava, S.,"Sacred Groves in India – An overview",Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal,2000
The overview presented here of sacred groves in India, offers an enormous range of variations in the names, sizes, tenurial and management rights, systems gender associations, in socio-cultural, economics and religious functions, associated with various rites of passage and the rhythm of seasons and several other aspects. These groves face a variety of threats.

Malhotra, K.C., Stanley, S., Hemam, N.S., and Das, K.,"Biodiversity conservation and ethics : Sacred groves and pools",In: Fujiki, N., & Macer, R.J., (eds.), Bioethics in Asia, Proceedings of the UNESCO Asian Bioethics Conference, pp. 338-345,1998
The materials presented in the paper comprises of field surveys carried out in sacred groves (SG) of seven villages of West Bengal and 220 villages in Orissa. Besides, a sacred pool in Orissa has also been described. The main findings of the present study are : (1) in all SGs there are strict cultural taboos in harvesting of plant biomass and hunting of animals; (ii) none of the forest products in the SG can be exploited for commercial purposes; (iii) most of the SGs were found undisturbed; (iv) in the sacred pool harvesting of fishes and other aquatic fauna and flora are strictly forbidden; (v) the protection of sacred sites is maintained by the belief in powers of resident spirits and deities, and no policing or monitoring is carried out by humans, and (vi) persons violating the established norms and values are generally not punished, instead are punished by local nature spirits/deities. In all studied villages, the communities, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, language, age or gender observed traditional values and ethics in maintaining the biological and cultural integrity of the sacred sites. Such values and ethics related to sacred sites have a strong bearing on the conservation of dwindling biodiversity. There is plenty to learn from such prudent cultural practices related to care and use of natural resources.

Marimuthu, G.,"The sacred flying fox of India",Bat Conservation International, 6(2) : 10-11,1988
The Indian Flying Foxes (Pteropus giganteus) are considered sacred at 4 places near Madurai in Tamilnadu State of southern India. These bats are believed to get protection from the deities associated with the roosting sites at these 4 sites. Hence, due to the fear of deities, local people do not allow hunting of the Indian Flying Foxes.

Meher-Homji, V.M.,"Puttupet: A sacred termite-mound protects a forest",Blackbuck, 2(4) : 1-4,1987
A remarkable example of natural vegetation surviving in the midst of cultivation due to religious sentiments is found at Puttupattu Chavadi, commonly called Puttupet, about 13 kms north of Pondicherry on way to Marakkanam, at the southern edge of the Kaliveli tank. At first it appeared that the profuse growth of vegetation was due to the availability of moisture from the nearby lake. However, a closer inquiry revealed that not only is there a temple of God Manjiny inside with the Ayyanars (deities with horses, guardians of the village) but also another object of veneration, a puttu, i.e., a termite mound with snake-holes. This is one of the rare instances of a miniature termite "hillock" being worshipped because of the belief that wishes asked for here (both beneficial and evil) are fulfilled. In the bargain, the scrub-jungle receives due protection, reminiscent of the sacred groves of Maharashtra.

Meher-Homji, V.N.,"Conservation of ecological heritage",In: Krishna, N., and Prabhakaran, J., (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu. C. P. R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, pp. 32-44,1997
The strong tradition of the Indians of respecting all forms of life is well known. In the sacred groves, the trees are protected with religious fervour. However today scant respect is given to the denizens of the forests, both trees and animals. The sacred groves are the repositories of biological resources. In the northern portion of the Western Ghats biodiversity is sheltered in the sacred groves, smaller in size but widely distributed. The reserved forests are depleted. The ecological studies of these species rich smaller pockets should try to understand whether viable populations of rare species occur in the scattered pocket? Does it make sense protecting these pint-sized pockets? Or can we just forget them?

Michaloud, G., and Dury, S.,"Sacred Trees, Groves, Landscapes and Related Cultural Situations May Contribute to Conservation and Management in Africa",Conserving the Sacred For Biodiversity Management, New Delhi,1998
A review on African sacred trees, groves and landscapes is given. It is necessary to help natural reforestation in Africa through a controlled programme of intervention.

Mitra, A., and Pal, S.,"Roots",Down to Earth, 200 Special, pp 52-55, Thompson Press, New Delhi,2001
Sacred groves can easily be thought of as a residue of the past. Sacred groves are present in almost all the states of our country. Little gods protect these big forests. But people no longer believe this. A culture of protection is being put to the axe. The problems of sacred groves have been identified, but opinions differ on how to save them. A national level sacred groves act is necessary to protect and use the sacred grove sustainably.

Mitra, A., and Pal, S.,"The spirit of the sanctuary",Down to Earth, January,1994
The article takes into account various issues associated with sacred grove tradition in Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala. Authors have also interviewed experts for present day conditions of the tradition. Scholars say the advent of Christianity in the northeast swept away old beliefs and ritualistic traditions of most tribes in the region. Sanctified forests existed among the Angmi tribe in Nagaland and the Rongmel tribe in Manipur. But except for the Khasis, the other tribes have abandoned their beliefs. Though the Sarnas of south Bihar have declined under pressure from development projects and urbanisation, there are instances when survival instincts revived them. The Sarnas were one of the factors that stalled the Koel-Karo twin-dam project a decade ago. The Munda tribals living in the 112 villages in the submergence area refused to give up their sarnas and sasandiris (burial grounds) as well as their lands without suitable rehabilitation. The Orans of western Rajasthan consist of, at best, 3 or 4 varieties of trees. Though part of this degeneration can be attributed to the breakdown of the local self-government system, the people have also ignored traditional values and principles of community conservation. Reviving the Orans is fraught with various problems. Gadgil and Vartak first warned about deforestation in the state's groves about 20 years ago. And, the deforestation has accelerated.

Mohan, H.,"The Parhaiya: A Study in Culture Change",Bihar Tribal Welfare Research Institute, Patna,1975
The Parhaiya settlements are mostly located in the hills in Palamau district of Bihar. Each settlement has a sacred grove. In a Parhaiya settlement, the following sacred places like Gaonhel Asthan, Devi Asthan are found. The Parhaiya also worship various deities like Raksel, his wife Rakselin, Darha, Chandi, Dharti, Gaonhelor or Dihwar, Satbahini. These deities are located in respective sacred groves.

Mukherjee, C.,"The Santals",A.Mukherjee & Co. Pvt. Ltd., Calcutta,1962
The Santals have several village spirits, whom they worship during all public festivals. They are supposed to preside over particular rural areas in which they live. The chief presiding deity of the Santals is `Maran Buru'. It is said that he possesses the widest possible powers and is associated both with good and mischievous Godlings. Another village deity is `Monrenko Turuiko'. The Santals believe that they were five brothers. They are supposed to preside over the welfare of the village. His younger sister `Gosane era' constitutes a separate deity of Jaherthan (Holy grove) and is offered worship in a different hut, 'Jaher era', another sister of Morenko is the Goddess of Jaherthan named after her. She has a stone assigned as her symbol. The Santals worship her for the general welfare of the village, so that their children may have good health, crops may grow in plenty and youths and maids of the tribe may be married quickly. Manjhi has his place no doubt, but he is worshipped at the Manjhithan, a separate shrine in the village.

Murthy, R.S.S.,"Environmental awareness of Kautilya",Proceedings of the National Seminar on Ecological Awareness reflected in Sanskrit literature, Jha, V.N., (ed.), Univ. of Poona, Poona, pp. 51-60,1991
Kautilya's Arthasastra is replete with his concern for nature. While human society depends entirely on nature for its existence and enjoyment, Kautilya appears to underline the principle that there must be a judicious and intelligent use of nature. He visualises two kinds of environmental problems - a) created by people and b) created by nature. For (a) he suggests law court should tackle these and for (b) he depends on forecasting; based on which King should take the precautions.

Murugan, K., V.S. Ramachandran, K. Swarupanandan and M. Ramesh,"Socio-cultural perspectives to sacred groves and serpentine worship in Palakkad district, Kerala",Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 7, No.3, pp. 463-465,2008
Sacred groves (kavukal) are seen through out Kerala, having varied forms, cultural practices and belief systems. The vegetation in the groves is highly varied viz. mangroves, fresh water swamps, or other tropical forest types. Deities worshipped in the groves are also highly varied. One such type is the sacred grove dedicated to serpent God and serpent worship is considered to be one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of nature worship in the world. While serpent worship is seen through out India, only in Kerala, people worship serpent in the sacred groves dedicated to them called, Sarpa kavu. The study brought out three broad types of groves in Palakkad, viz. the primitive, the recent and the sacraments devoid of groves. Worship, rites and rituals associated with the grove include both primitive ones like Noorum palum, Kalemezhuthupattu and the Vedic types like Sarpa bali and Payasa homam. Beside these, the myths and beliefs associated with serpent worship are also discussed in detail. The study brings to light the existence of groves devoid of any vegetation, indicating that sacred groves can be relicts from a past socio-cultural epoch, which served to transmit the cultural heritage generations from pre-historic time. Conservation of natural resources in the past involved many taboos, rituals and other religious practices and sacred groves was such a traditional socio-cultural mechanism aiming at nature conservation that integrated socio-cultural aspects for conservation.

NAEB,"Sacred groves of Kurukshetra, Haryana",Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd., Bombay Regional Centre, National Afforestation and Eco-development Board, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India, New Delhi,1995
Unlike in other states there seems to be no common name for these groves even though these enjoy protection due to similar reasons. There are in all 248 sacred groves in Kurukshetra district out of which Kurukshetra tehsil has 190, Pehowa 30 and Shahabad 28. The groves attached to temples account for 38.0 per cent, Tirath 20.0 per cent, Gurudwaras 18.0 per cent, Samadhis 8.0 per cent and others (under Ashram, Dharamshala, Vidyapeeth, Church etc.) 16.0 per cent. For detailed studies 36 sites were selected with the break-up of 20 temple groves, 6 Tirathsthans, 4 Gurudwaras and 4 Samadhis and one each of Church and Museum.

Nair, G.H., Gopikumar, Krishnan, P.G., and Kumar, K.K.S.,"Sacred Groves of India – Vanishing Greenery",Current Science, Vol. 72, No. 1o, pp. 697-698, Bangalore, May ,1997
Sacred groves are ecologically and genetically very important. They are the abodes of rare, endemic and endangered species. Today sacred groves are the victims of modern man’s greed and carelessness. Studies point out that sacred groves are no longer going to have the privilege they had in the past.

Nair, N.C., and Mohanan, C.N.,"On the Rediscovery of Four Threatened Species of the Sacred Groves of Kerala",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol.2, pp. 233-235., Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1981
Sacred groves in India serve the vital function of preservation of plant species that have become very rare or extinct elsewhere. The present paper reports four threatened plants from two sacred groves in Quillon district, Kerala.

Nambeesan, K.M.U.,"The Sacred Groves of Kozhikode District",Sacred Groves- Pockets of Biodiversity, Society for the Protection of Environment, Calicut,1993
In Kerala the sacred groves are usually seen around places of worship or in tharavadus (ancestral houses) and are specifically meant for preserving intact the intact flora of the locality in its natural form. The Society for Protection of Environment, Kerala conducted a survey of the sacred groves of Kozhikode District. The study reveals that these groves provide habitat for a large number of plant and animal species.

Nath, Y.V.S.,"Bhills of Ratanmal",The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Baroda,1960
Every Bhil village in this part of the country has spirits as their dwelling place. This grove is named "the forest of the Gods" (Devnu van). No trees may be cut in this grove nor the ground ploughed under any circumstances. All the `good spirits' of the village are invited to reside in this grove and look after the interests of their descendents. Once a year in Diwali, the villagers make offerings of food and liquor to all the spirits resident in this grove.

Nayak, R., Boal, B.M., and Soreng, N.,"The Kondh: A hand book for development",Indian Social Institute, New Delhi,1990
Jhakeri God for the Dongaria is the male aspect of the creator protector deity, dwelling in his sacred shed, the Sadar. Though this is a male presence, the hut also contains carved female symbols associated with the earth deity.

Nayak, R., Boal, B.M., and Soreng, N.,"The Gadabas: A Handbook for Development",Indian Social Institute, New Delhi,1996
The next sphere in the spiritual world of the Gadabas is at village level. At the center of village is enshrined the Hundi, and the outskirts the thakurani (Jhakar). While the Daran Deli is the guardian of the individual household, the hundi and jhakar look after the entire village community under their jurisdiction guarding it against all evils and blessing them with abundance and prosperity. The well being of the people in the village, or of the village as a whole, is dependent not only on the Daran deli and the village deity but also on a harmonious relationship with the deities resident outside the village. One agent of pollution is woman during her menstrual period. In the past, the bleeding woman was considered unclean, even her husband was considered impure during her menstrual period.

Nayak, R., Boal, B.M., and Soreng, N.,"The Juangs: A handbook of development",Indian Social Institute, New Delhi,1993
The Thana pati (deity of the locality worshipped under the sal tree) is the paramount tutelary deity of all the territory belonging to village of Juang tribals. Deity is worshipped under a sal tree within a grove of sacred trees some little distance from the village. For many villages she is a female deity. The groves are known to symbolise the earth mother, beside her tree sometimes there is a wooden pillar which is commonly a male symbol. Animal sacrifice is not usually offered to her. Gram Siri is the other tutelary deity. Her shrine is to be found at the heart of every Juang village. She dwells in a Katho Champa, the temple flower tree.

Nayar, M.P,"Sacred Groves (Kavus) of Alappuzha District, Kerala: A Participatory Study",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Kerala has more than 2000 sacred groves (Kavus=Separate forests mainly worshipped by the Hindus), which are distinct and unique in their biodiversity content. The groves, forming a part of the tradition, are ecologically significant as these microhabitats perform a variety of functions from water retention to conservation of rare category species. The kavus of kerala are mostly concentrated in the lowland and midland areas extending up to the low-hills of the Western Ghats system. Districts of Thiruvananthapuram, kollam, parthananthitta, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur and kasaragod have the maximum number of sacred groves in the state. The district of Alappuzha is situated a long the costs with lowlands and backwaters forming a major part its area. Through densely habituated, the district harbours a considerable number of Karvas owned by Temple trusts, and individuals along with a few occupying the revenue land (puramboku). A preliminary survey on the resources and features of the sacred froves in the coastal belt of Alappuzha has been made concentrating on two administrative blocks namely, kanjikkuzhi and Aryad. The survey covered eight Panchayats, five Kanjikkuzhi Block (Maraikkulam North, Kanjikkuzhi, Thanneermukkam, Muhammad and Cherthla South) and three from Aryad Block (Aryad, Mannanchery and Maraikkulam South). Information gathered on the Kavus of the region with the help of local volunteers, is summarised.

Nipunage, D.S., Kulkarni, D.K., and Vartak, V.D.,"Floristic studies on sacred groves from Sinhagad hills in Pune district, Maharashtra state",In: Higher Plants of Indian subcontinent, Vol. IV, pp.153-159. B.S.M.P.S., Dehradun, U.P,1993
The study area of Sinhagad hills is situated about 24 km south west of Pune City. It lies between 18°33'-18°41' N and 73°77'-73°84' E. The work was carried out on the following lines: To collect plant specimens from sacred groves; to note common plant associations; and to study the habit, general appearance and abundance of individual species. Seven sacred groves were recorded and studied from the Sinhagad and adjoining areas in Pune District. Occurrence of common but valuable medicinal plant, Helicteres isora L. in pure stand in Bapujiboovache Ban is a remarkable point. Fruits of Helicteres isora L. are used in the treatment of gastric and intestinal disorders. Pure stand of Miliusa tomentosa (Roxb.) is also a striking feature which can be seen exclusively in sacred groves.

Oliver, E.D.I., Viji, C. and Narasimhan, D.,"Socio-biological aspects of sacred groves of different ecological zones of Tamilnadu",In: Krishna, N., & Prabhakaran, J., (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, C.P.R. Environment Education Centre, Chennai, pp. 54-64,1997
Most of the groves in Tamilnadu are associated with the village folk deities. The mythological stories, staunch belief systems and taboos associated with deities have preserved number of forest pockets.

Panda, G.P.,"The attitude towards environment reflected in Kautilya's Arthasastra",In: Jha, V.N., (ed.), Proc. of the National Seminar on Environmental Awareness Reflected in Sanskrit Literature. University of Poona, Pune, 47-50,1991
In country like India the kings were the rulers with all kinds of sovereignty over their states in ancient times. Kautilya's Arthasastra being a work in Indian polity laid down certain rules and principle of statecrafts for the kings whereby the environment was maintained as a part of their machinery. The subject matter in this paper is discussed under two broad headings i) the attitude towards flora, and ii) the attitude towards fauna.

Pandey, D.N.,"Sacred Forestry: The Case of Rajasthan, India",Sustainable Developments International, pp. 1-6.,
There are about 25,000 sacred groves in Rajasthan. These sacred groves are currently facing threat due to clear felling, mining, quarry, encroachment and various other factors. Many programmes have been launched to conserve these sacred forests.

Pandey, D.N.,"Sacred Groves, Sacred Corridors, Sacred Gardens and Temple Forests of Rajasthan",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
The sacred groves of Aravallis and Vindhyas can be classified into 3 categories viz., (1) groves on the top of the hillocks where people worship Bheruji, Baswi, Mataji etc., (2) Groves dedicated to Lord Mahadeo; (3) A single tree.

Pandey, D.N.,"Ethnoforestry-Local Knowledge for Sustainable Forestry and Livelihood Security",Himanshu Publications, Udaipur,1998
To restore the sacred groves of Aravalli hills in India, a programme, Aravalli Sacred Grove Conservation, was launched in 1992. This programme includes protection of groves, planting of indigenous species, soil and water conservation and participatory approach to restoration. Important technical inputs being addressed are : constitution of Village Forest Protection and Management Committee; training on sacred groves conservation to people; Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and foresters; documentation of sacred groves and biodiversity; participatory planting and seed sowing of local species; soil and water conservation; restoration; planting of ethno-silvicultural refugia; seed collection from species growing in sacred groves; afforestation of local; and rare and threatened trees around the sacred groves located in forest lands. Societal and legal issues addressed include public education, awareness and socio-legal action against those who violate the community protection norms. Similar programme is being launched in Kota under Forestry Development Project.

Paranjpye, V.,"Deorai (Sacred Grove) : An Ancient Indian concept of common property resources",Studies on Ecology and Sustainable Development- 2, pp. 42 -44,1989
‘Deorai,’ an ancient Indian common property resource, is the sacred grove of Maharashtra. It is usually situated at the origin of fresh water springs and plays a vital role in protecting water resources.

Parkin, R.,"The Munda of Central India : An account of their Social Organisation",Oxford University Press, New Delhi,1992
The meeting place among the Mundas is the majhithan or sacred grove dedicated to the spirits of past headman.

Parthasarathy, N., and Karthikeyan, R.,"Plant biodiversity inventory and conservation of two tropical dry evergreen forests on the Coromandel coast, South India",Biodiversity and Conservation, 6 (8): 1063-1083,1997
Species diversity, population structure, abundance and dispersion patterns of all woody plants above 10 cm gbh (girth at breast height) were inventoried in two 1-ha plots of tropical dry evergreen (sacred grove or temple) forests at Kuzhanthaikuppam (KK) and Thirumanikkuzhi (TM) on the Coromandel coast of south India. Site KK is a stunted forest (average tree height ca 6 m) and TM a tall forest (average tree height ca 10 m). A total of 54 species (in 47 genera and 31 families) were recorded. Species richness and stand density were 42 and 38 species and 1367 and 974 individuals ha-1 respectively for the sites KK and TM. About 50% of the total species were common to both the sites. Site TM is twofold more voluminous (basal area 29.48 m-2 ha-1) than KK (basal area 15.44 m-2 ha-1). Nearly one third of the individuals are multi-stemmed in the low-statured site KK whereas one fourth of the tree density is multi-stemmed in TM. Species abundance pattern varied between the two sites. The abundance of three species in KK and two species in TM is pronounced. Memecylon umbellatum, the most abundant species contributing to one third of total stand density in KK, is least represented in TM. Species richness, density and diversity indices decreased with increasing girth threshold. Most species exhibited clumped dispersion of individuals both at 0.25 and 1-ha scales. Population structure for girth frequency is an expanding one for both the sites, except for basal area distribution in KK. Variations in plant diversity and abundance are related to site attributes and human impacts. In the light of habitat uniqueness, species richness and sacred grove status, the need for conservation is emphasized.

Parthasarathy, N., and Sethi, P.,"Trees and liana species diversity and population structure in a tropical dry evergreen forest in South India",Tropical Ecology, 38(1): 19 – 30,1997
Biodiversity, density, population structure and dispersion of all trees and lianas above 10 cm gbh were investigated in two hectares (four 0.5 ha plots) of a sacred grove tropical dry evergreen forest at Puthupet in the Coromandel coast of south India. Woody species richness in 2-ha area was 51 (in 46 genera and 30 families) in a total stem density of 2675. Population density, basal area and importance value index (IVI) of species varied greatly. Canthium dicoccum, Flacourtia indica, Garcinia spicata, Memecylon umbellatum and Pterospermum canescens were the five dominants contributing to 78% of IVI and basal area and 71% of stand density. Among the four 0.5 ha plots difference in species richness was narrow, whereas that of stand density was wider. Mean stand density was 1338 stems ha-1 and mean basal areas was 32.8 m-2 ha-1. Rubiaceae was the most speciose (5 species) family. Density-wise Melastomataceae accounted for 40% of total stems represented only by Memecylon umbellatum. Species richness, Shannon-Wiener index and stem density mostly decreased with increasing tree size class. Of the 18 lianas recorded, most were in lower girth class (10 - 60 cm). Stand population structure of all four plots was an expanding type with varying trends in basal area. Most species, particularly the dominants exhibited clumped dispersion. The present extent of forest cover and biodiversity are attributed to sacred grove status of the site which deserves protection.

Parthsarathy,N., R.Venkateswaran, M.Sridhar Reddy and S.Mani,,"Role of Sacred Groves in Biodiversity Conservation of Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves in India are mostly remnant patches of native vegetation preserved by local people following religious beliefs associated with them. However, small fragments could play important role in the maintenance of regional biodiversity. Research was carried out in ten sacred groves which represent the unique and under-studied tropical dry evergreen forest, districted in the five inland sites (Araiyapatti A.P, Karisakkadu KR, Maramadakki MM, Shanmuganathapuram SP and Rayapati, RP) in Puddukotai district and five on the Coromandel coast of India (Arasadikuppam AK, Oorani QR, Thirumanikkuzhi TM, Kuzhanthaikuppam KK and Puthupet PP_, around Pondicherry in Villupuram and Cuddalore districts of Tamil Nadu. The tropical dry evergreen forests are two or three-layered, short-stature (canopy 8-12m high), occur in climatically drier areas which experience four to six dry months in a year, harbor largely evergreen species with a few deciduous and brave-deciduous species, and encompass a considerable diversity and density of lianas. Tree diversity (10 cm gbh) inventory in the ten sacred grove dry evergreen forests yielded a total of 81 species. Tree species richness ranged from 19 to 35 ha. Three species Memecylon umbellatum, Chloroxylon swietenia and Pterospermum canescens scored high importance value index (IVI) and thus these species characterize the inland sacred groves. A total of 56 species that belonged to 51 genera and 25 families was recorded in the five coastal sacred groves. Tree species richness ranged from 24 to 31 species ha-1. Tree density ranged from 856 to 2815 stems ha-1 and basal area from 14.6 to 37.6-m2 ha-1. Three species Memecylon umbellatum, Tricalysia sphaerocarpa and Pteropermum canescens scored high importance forests. Lianas contribute significantly to the characteristic species of coastal sacred grove fry evergreen forest sacred groves. Liana diversity inventory (1 cm diameter at breast height, dbh) in eight dry evergreen forest sites of 1-ha each distributed four siters each in Coromandel Coast and in inland forests of Pudukottai district, yields 5985 individuals in 42 species. Combretum albidum (Combretaceae) was predominant. Considering the total woody species diversity (123 species), the ten studied sacred groves encompass, and further representing the unique and ill-known tropical dry evergreen forests along with their associated fauna and rich cultural tradition associated with them, their conservation value is emphasized.

Pascal, J.P., Ramesh, B.R. and Bourgeon, G.,"The "Kan forests" of the Karnataka plateau (India): Structure and floristic composition, trends in the changes due to their exploitation",Tropical Ecology, 29 (2): 9-23,1988
"Kan forests" are patches of evergreen forest on the Karnataka plateau (India) growing under bioclimatic conditions that are more favourable to deciduous formations. They are now highly degraded as a result of prolonged exploitation. Floristic composition, structure and stages of degradation have been studied in 4 selected plots. The floristic composition varies very little from one kan to another. On the other hand, the relative importance of species differs appreciably. The structural changes are seen in the opening and height of the stand, in the height of inversion level (sensu Oldeman) as well as in the biomass which may vary from simple to double. The plot in which the canopy was least disturbed shows a structure which is quite similar to the dense forests of the evergreen belt at the same latitude. The problem of safeguarding the kans is discussed.

Patnaik, N.R.,"History and Culture of Khond Tribes",Common Wealth Publishers, New Dehi, India,1992
The important God of the Khond pantheon was Gossa Pennu, the God of Forests. They also maintain a sacred grove dedicated to Gossa Pennu. There is a range of taboos for harvesting the resources from the grove. The sacrifices are offered to the deities. The tribe also has other deities like Pitabaldi literally signifying `Great father God', Loha Penu - the war God or God of arms of the Khonds, who are worshipped in the groves.

Patnaik, S., and Pandey, A.,"A study of indigenous community based forest management system: Sarna (sacred grove)",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., and Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 315-321,1998
The authors report in this paper results of their study on sacred groves (Sarna) in Jaspur Forest division of Raigarh district of Madhya Pradesh. The study area in predominantly inhabited by tribals (66%). Sarnas with varying sizes, 0.02 ha to 21 ha are found from mountaintop to plateau. They report four types of Sarnas - Sarhul, Kadamara, Mahadani and Phool. The Sarnas are fairly degraded with poor regeneration due to grazing, NTFP collection and other biotic pressures especially encroachment. Rehabilitation of degraded Sarnas with local people's involvement is essential.

Pimplaskar, M.,"Sacred Groves",MPTS Newsletter, 17/18, p - 8, Pune,
One of the most important traditional practices of rural communities is the preservation of important plant species in a sacred grove. The sacred grove is commonly known as ‘Panchavati’ and fire most sacred trees of the area and many other useful plants.

Poddar,S.,"Sacred Grove: Abode of God and Ecological Saviour",Indian Folklife, Vol. 2, No.1, pp 22-23,2002
In East Central India, the Santal communities have maintained their sacred groves of the Sal tree or ‘Jaharthan’. They celebrate many festivals and worship the trees in order to show their gratitude to the trees and protect themselves from the evil spirits of the sacred groves.

Praveen Kumar Cyril, K.,"Plant Biodiversity and Biocultural Traditions of four sacred groves of composite South Arcot District of Tamilnadu",M.Phil., Dissertation, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry,
Floristic and the biocultural traditions of four Marutham sacred groves namely the Udayarappan grove at Keezhbuvanagiri, Kilialamman grove at Periya Kumati, Pazhaya Chotru Aiyanar grove at Periyakattupalayam and Karikkatti Aiyanar grove at Periyamudaliyar Chavadi were studied.

Prem Vaidya,"Sacred Groves",The India Magazine, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 70 – 71,1993
Deorais, the sacred groves of Maharashtra provide water, shelter and a host of herbs for the tribals and there is excellent scope for botanists and naturalists to study them.

Priyadarsan and Sensarma,"The Sacred and Religious Plants in the Tantrasārah",Ethnobotany, Vol.7, pp 51-61, Deep Publications, New Delhi,1995
Old Sanskrit texts contain abundant references to sacred plants. The tantrasārah is a Sanskrit text, the authorship of which is attributed to Krishnanda Agambisha. The ethnobotanical information collected from this text may be divided into various categories: (a) plants required for religious rites; (b) plants eaten before and during religious works; (c) plants not eaten before and during religious rites; (d) use of plants.

Pushpangadan, P., Rajendraprasad, M., and Krishan, P.N.,"Sacred groves of Kerala - A synthesis on the State",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 193-209,1998
The authors in this very comprehensive paper give an overview of the status of sacred groves in Kerala. The various aspects covered are Distribution of sacred groves in Kerala (an estimated over 2000 reasonably well preserved sacred groves are present in Kerala); Vegetation structure and dynamics (Physiognony, biological spectrum, species diversity); Ecological functions; and Rituals, worship and celebrations. The authors conclude: "A holistic understanding on the current status, structure, function and dynamics of sacred grove ecosystems is an essential prerequisite for assessing their ecological role, productive potentials and conservation values. There is an urgent need for launching a coordinated action oriented multidisciplinary programme on sacred groves of Kerala.

Raddi, A.G.,"Biodiversity conservation through sacred groves (Deorais) in Maharashtra: Retrospect and prospect",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 349- 355,1998
In this article, the author critically examines various problems confronting the survival of sacred groves, and evaluates management options. The problems discussed are: erosion of sanctity and values; legal limitations; and imbalances in observational studies. The management options evaluated are: notifying sacred groves a forest areas; Wild life (Protection) Act 1972; and linkages with the village eco-development and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Concept. The author concludes: What is important is to integrate the spirit and philosophy of Biosphere reserve management into village eco-development approach. This will not only give a qualitative boost to biodiversity conservation in the villages but also provide supplemental support to the biodiversity conservation work being done by the forest authorities.

Raghavendra, S., C.G. Kushalappa and N.A. Prakash,"An Assessment of Rare, Endangered and Threatened (Ret) Medical Tree Diversity in Sacred Forests of Kodagu, Central Western Ghats and their Conservation",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves are one of the informal approaches of conserving the biological diversity of a region. In the recent concern over the high degradation of natural resources, these play an important role in preservation of depleting resource elements such as medicinal plants. The present paper highlights an assessment of RETS medicinal tree species in two different vegetational types in Vitajpet taulk of Kodagu district. The study indicates higher richness of non-RET species (151) and Ret medicinal tree species (16) in semi-evergreen vegetation type compared to richness of non-RET species (126) and RET medicinal tree species (11) in moist deciduous vegetation. In each of these vegetation types assessments are also undertaken in large and small sacred forests and the results indicate higher richness in large sacred forests than in small ones. On the 27 RET medicinal tree species recorded, six species were unique to semi-evergreen vegetation and one species was unique to moist deciduous vegetation and ten were common to both the vegetation types. Conservation strategies have been proposed bases on the current population size, regeneration status and threats to the selected tree species.

Rai, R. and S.P. Tripathi,"Deogudi Sacred Grove - A tribal concept of conservation of plants in Bastar District",Chhattisgarh, Indian Forester, Vol. 134, No.12, pp. 1686 -1695,2008
The socio-religious practices prevalent among Gond, Murias, Halba and Maria tribes of Bastar region of Chhattisgarh state are helpful in conservation of plants. This practice of nature conservation is a very ancient tradition and indigenous culture in Bastar as well as in other parts of the country. Tribals in Chhattisgarh State conserve a large number of plants of economic importance in sacred groves called 'Deogudi'.

Rai, S.C., and Sundriyal, R.C.,"Tourism and biodiversity conservation: The Sikkim Himalaya",Ambio, 26(4): 235-242,1997
The Sikkim Himalaya is an area of high biodiversity and cultural heterogeneity with distinctive ethnic groups, mountain peaks, sacred lakes, and monasteries, making it a place of tourist attraction. The State has a rich tradition of nature conservation. However, local needs and increased tourist activities are causing some environmental degradation in the region. Based on three of the most commonly used tourist destinations, the perception of local stakeholders and their attitudes, and discussions with authorities, this paper analyzes the dynamics of tourism growth and biodiversity and its impact on resources, environment, local communities and the state economy.

Rajasri Ray and T. V. Ramachandra,Small sacred groves in local landscape: are they really worthy for conservation?, Current Science, Vol.98, No.9, May 2010, Pp.1178-1180.,
Sacred groves are communally-protected forest fragments with significant religious connotations. These community lands attain significance due to biodiversity conservation and provide ecological services in local landscapes. However, it has often been found that interests related to sacred groves are often concentrated towards the groves with conspicuous presence, i.e. in terms of expanse, economic importance or presence of charismatic species, etc. This undermines the role played by the small groves (mostly < 1 ha) and also lead to degradation over time. This commentary analyses the role and need for conservation of small groves in local landscape scenario.

Rajendaran, K. and C.Krishnan,"Common Sacred Tree in Alagar Kovil Sacred Grove of Western Ghats Region of Madurai District, Tamil Nadu",, In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
The relationship between man and trees is based on religion, there is a long list of plant species, which are associated with the Hindu and other religions. It is also believed that trees are blessed with spirits of good and bad. The bad spirit causes disasters. Trees are popularly regarded as a sign of future. Also they are considered to ward off evils. Therefore, these beliefs led to worship them by the people. These plants are of great medicinal value too. A survey and observation was carried out in order to identify and document the sacred trees in Alagar Kovil, Western Ghats region of Madurai District, Tamil Nadu. Observation revealed that, many species are worshipped. People often use pars of plants or products for worship. In the survey, 30 tree species of 28 genera belonging to 18 families, which are regarded sacred trees were identified and documented. Aegle marmelos, Anthocephalus cadamba, Azadirachta indica, Citrus lemon, Ficus benghalensis, Ficus religiosa, Guettarda speciosa, Lawsonia inermis, Madhuca longifolia, Mangifera indica, Terminalia arjuna and Wrightia tinctoria are some of the most commonly worshipped tree species.

Rajendraprasad, M., Krishnan, P.N, and Pushpangadan, P.,"Vegetational characterization and litter dynamics of the Sacred Groves of Kerala",Southwest India, Journal of Tropical Forest Science, Vol.12, No. 2, pp 320-335,2000
The sacred groves represent the remnants of the once luxuriant vegetation of Kerala, which are protected on religious grounds. These ecosystems now remain as treasure houses of a large number of endemic flora and fauna. As patches of evergreen forests, the maintenance of the functional dynamics of the sacred groves is always related to a balance in the litter production and decomposition process of its floristic components. The vegetational characteristics and litter dynamics of five bio-climatically diverse sacred groves in Kerala, southwest India were examined.

Rajendraprasad, M., Krishnan, P.N., and Pushpangadan, P.,"The Life Form Spectrum of Sacred Groves- A Functional Tool to Analyse the Vegetation",Tropical Ecology, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 211-217, International Society for Tropical Ecology,1998
Sacred groves have existed in Kerala from time immemorial as patches of densely vegetated areas set aside on religious grounds and are distinct and unique in their biological diversity. Population pressure have led to exponentially increasing demands for natural resources resulting in the decrease in the area of these self generating and self sustainable ecosystems. The similarity between the Raunkiaer’s normal spectrum and sacred grove’s spectrum indicates that this vegetation stands as a relic of the evergreen tropical rainforest. The biological spectrum of the sacred grove of different bio-climatically divergent regions indicates that this is a potent tool for understanding the general structure and functioning of these ecosystems, especially to analyze the human impact.

Raju, D.C.S., and Sanjappa, M.,"Sacred Groves of Sikkim Himalaya",In: Abstracts of seminar on - Sacred Groves of India & their Biodiversity Conservation, Hyderabad, April 21,1996
Sikkim is the smallest state in India. In Sikkim people worship nature and demon-gods. There are about 67 Buddhist monasteries on the hilltops. These monasteries are surrounded by sacred groves that are rich in wildlife.

Ramachandran, K.K.,"Studies on the Sacred groves of Kerala",Environmental Research –Executive Summaries of Completed Projects, Vol. II, pp. 213 – 215, MoEF, Govt. of India,1993
There are nearly 240 “Kavus” (Sacred groves) in Kerala. They harbour rare and endangered plants are in need of immediate protection.

Ramakantha, V. and R.J. Ranjit Daniels,"Sacred Groves: A Reassessment of Intrinsic, Ecological and Human use values",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
India is one of the twelve Mega-diversity countries of the world, and the country is identified to be one of earths biologically wealthiest nations. Apart from being exceedingly rich flora and fauna, India has also inherited glorious tradition conservation. While most scholars claim that Indians had learned to lived in harmony with nature, and that this benevolent attitude towards nature and wildlife on he part of our forefathers had great bearing on the sustenance of our rich biodiversity, there have been some scholars who argue that dreaded superstition, blind faith or animism on the part of people have had equal, if no greater role in conservation. In this paper, in the context of sacred groves we have made an attempt to pressures the human use value, ecological value and the intrinsic value of the sacred groves while trying to glimpse into the mindset concerning nature. Even in ancient times portions of forests have been regarded as Dev-aranya (Gods abode) and strict prohibition was placed on cutting of trees and such activities. Sacred Groves dot the length and breadth of the present day landscape of India and it is remarkable that in spite of a very high land to man ratio; sacred groves have survived under a variety of ecological situations. Sacred groves are named differently in different regions of the country, and they vary in many ways in composition, size and utility. Many of these sacred groves are ecological units, which have been performing a wide range of ecological functions over time, and hence they are invaluable. It is now apparent that sacred groves serve as a repository o genetic diversity and many keystone species are conserved in sacred groves. Though in quite a few cases nothing but a termite mounds and a couple of trees constitute a sacred grove, their contribution to the well being of the human race or ecological service that they render cannot be undermined. Advancement in ecology, relatively a new science, ahs revealed that termites are a keystone species. Although not fully understood, they play a major role especially in drier landscape as they provide ecosystem services such as nutrient enrichment, biodegradation of wastes and provide for shelter to number of invertebrates, amphibians and retiles within their mounds and hey deserve to be protected. Similarly, on scrutiny we realize that in many cases sanctity was attached to such places where nature was at her effulgent best, displaying tremendous amount of beauty and diversity. The rediscovery of a monotypic plant Kuntleri keralensis from a sacred grove in the highly populated State of Kerala bears testimony to this value of a sacred grove as gene bank. Many of the sacred groves play a vital role in the conservation of elements of fresh air, water, soil, fauna and flora. Large sacred groves are huge reserves of medicines, food, water etc. Hence it is not advisable for the scientific community to look down on the conservation efforts of traditional communities and attributes superstition or blind beliefs. As conservation of elements of fresh air, water, soil, soil, fauna and flora are both spiritual and secular; attributing religious belief behind the creation and protection of sacred groves could only partly explain the purpose behind such an enterprise. It could very well be true our forefathers had tremendous ecological awareness. It is our claim that a full appreciation of the ecological wisdom of our forefathers would be the first important step on the part of the scientific community in dealing with the sacred grove. As we need to elicit the cooperation of people for he conservation of sacred groves, we know beer than you attitude on the part of he scientific community may hinder the very objective. Having said this, how do we go about conserving sacred groves in the fast changing Indian milieu? Presently, owing to the paucity of study, exploration documentation, one cannot even make an approximation about the number of sacred groves in India. Some claim that there are about 5700 sacred groves that are recorded from various states of India, while some others claim them to be over 17000 in number, while few others maintain that a proper inventory could reveal a hundred thousand such sacred groves or even more. Hence, a through inventorying would be the first important step that we ought to take. Though in certain parts of the country like in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, extensive work has been done on the sacred groves, a through review of literature makes us believe that we ought to change the approach towards the study of this particular subject. For example much effort has gone into the documentation of the plant species in the sacred groves, and there are also extensive records of observations of birds in the sacred groves. Though an inventory of plants in any given sacred grove is a welcome effort, an analysis as to how representative the flora of a particular sacred grove is to the ecosystem or the agro-climatic zone in which it is located would have served a better purpose. Birds are highly mobile organisms and as they make use of bounty of nature in far wider areas compared to their vertebrates, an inventory of birds per se may not be of mush value. We believe that it would remain a wishful thinking if we are to desire put in efforts to conserve all the sacred groves of India, for obvious reasons-they are scattered, their size could vary from few square meters to many square kilometers, the traditional communities views on them could differ entirely from one grove to the other, so on and so forth. Hence we recommend that we reassess the human use value, ecological value intrinsic value of the sacred groves of the country and priorities them on the basis of the above-mentioned values for taking up appropriate conservation measures. For example, a particular sacred grove could offer shade to a passer by, could provide flowers or worship or other religious ceremonies from an exotic tree like Plumeria alba grown here for the purpose, and people protect the same owing to sentimental value, or simply it is a symbolic sacred grove. When we develop an exclusive conservation strategy for sacred groves, those that are actively managed by local communities or institutions for its human use value or owing to sentiments, such sacred groves may be assigned the least priority. At the other end, those sacred groves that have immense ecological values such as being refuge for endangered species, endemic species and others, should given top priority. There are sacred groves that have remained as a representative of the original vegetation and remain as a relic or an island in otherwise a barren or degraded landscape; such sacred groves deserve our immediate attention, as they could provide valuable direction for eco-restoration purposes. In such sacred groves we would find an ideal, as to what shape we should bring into an otherwise barren landscape. Those sacred groves that fall in neither of the above mentioned category shall have to be considered for intrinsic values. A sacred known as Kathlekan on the banks of River Sarasvathi becomes an ideal examples of a sacred grove that deserve to be protected for its intrinsic value. The poorly lit swamps of Siddepur region in its Uttara Kannada district is Karnataka derives its name from its habitat: Kathle dark and Kan forests, this sacred groves is known for its unique community of plants, which grow in fresh water swamps in rainforests. The swamps were dominated by endemic plants like Pinnanga dicsoni and many relatives of much used nutmegs (Family: Myristicaceae). Of recent, a new species of tree Semecarpus Kathlekanensis has been described from this sacred grove. As of now only about 150 individuals of the tree species remain in the entire world, of which less than 50 are breeding trees. Obviously, the tree was found in large numbers earlier but has now been reduced to about 150 due to indiscriminate felling and draining of Kathlekan swamps for cultivation. Besides, a butterfly, Idea malabarica that is known to be a pollinator to this species is equally endangered. This particular case of the sacred grove clearly illustrates that this grove had little human use value as it has been destroyed for paddy cultivation and for other types of traditional land use. As of now, the ecological values of this sacred grove are less understood, and assigning such value for this unique sacred grove could take us years of research work. As intrinsic value of such plant communities or other organisms cannot be determined, what should be of immediate concern is to protect them for their intrinsic values. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a legally binding international treaty for which India is a signatory, identifies intrinsic value value fir its own sake-for a species or an ecosystem. The treaty claims that each species has a right to existence. Similarly, as per this treaty, a sacred grove may have an intrinsic right to existence, which surpasses the human-use value or the ecological value. As we neither could nor really appreciate our forefathers wisdom in setting aside patches of forests or nature as sacred groves, some of us accused them as full of superstition or blind belief. The irony is that protection of biodiversity for is intrinsic value as envisaged by CBD may very well seem to be a superstition blind belief.

Ramakrishnan P.S.,"Vegetation dynamics in Jhum Fallows",Shifting Agriculture and Sustainable Development, pp. 215-219, UNESCO, Paris and Oxford University Press, New Delhi,1993
The climax vegetation at higher elevations in Meghalaya, as at Cherrapunji about 50 km south of Shillong is represented by the sacred grove, a forest protected by the local people for religious and cultural and religious reasons. Engelhardtia spicata is the dominant species among the trees of the sacred grove.

Ramakrishnan, P.S.,"Conserving the Sacred: Where do we stand?",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., and Chandrashekhara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 439-455,1998
The author in this paper mention that while structural attributes of sacred groves from different parts of the globe are well documented, the functional attributes of these groves and their value for conservation of biodiversity and the policy issues that need to be addressed are less investigated. The author suggests that in view of rapid and continued decline occurring in the quality and the number of sacred groves, there is an urgent need to document and monitor existing groves, analyze the scientific basis of these relict ecosystem functional units, and evaluate their value for biodiversity conservation.. The author also suggests that a few selected groves representing different ecological zones in the country be declared as "National Heritage" sites.

Ramakrishnan, P.S.,"Conserving the sacred for biodiversity management - conclusions and recommendations",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., and Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, pp. XIII-XXIII,1998
In this article the author gives conclusions and recommendations based on the papers presented in a UNESCO sponsored workshop on `Role of Sacred Groves in Conservation and Management of Biological Diversity' held in Kerala in 1998. The author critically reviews various papers presented in the workshop. Among several observations the author concludes, "In the ultimate analysis, enough data exist on conservation biology, but not enough on those aspects linking biological conservation with cultural integrity. Filling this gap is considered crucial as it will provide an additional tool for biodiversity conservation and management".

Ramakrishnan, P.S.,"Conserving the sacred for biodiversity: The conceptual frame work",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 1-15,1998
The author in this paper develop a framework for an ecological analysis of the ‘concept of the sacred' (the sacred groves, sacred landscape and sacred species) from a biodiversity perspective, in the Indian context, largely drawing upon author's own experiences from the north-east Indian situation.

Ramakrishnan, P.S.,"Sacred landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Human are relatively newcomers to complex environmental in which driven by natural forces has shaped a complex se of constraints. Understanding these set of complex interactions, and the response by indigenous forest people may help in understanding possible sustainable use of forest resources. The concept of domestication of the landscape, referred to as domicultureforest resources. The concept of domestication of the landscape, referred to as domiculture is an attempt by aborigines in Australia, and many other indigenous societies elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, in concentrating biodiversity of economic value to society as part of forest management, is the necessary first step taken towards better organized growing of domesticated plant/animal populations. Domiculture is a well-integrated land use practice, expect for the aggregation of economically important species from the wild, found in the surrounding landscape itself. Such an attempt to domesticate the landscape around traditional societies is different from the intensified agriculture where the emphasis would be on modification of individual crop species and organization of crop species in agriculture plots, which is not difficult to perceive. The socio-ecological system integrity with its cultural and spiritual dimensions is still amongst many traditional societies (living close to nature and natural resources). The biophysical and the human dimensions here are kind are linked through the rich Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) that these societies have evolved over a period of time. TEK, therefore, is significant for forested landscape management. Though with the development of the industrial culture, socio-ecological linkages have been weakened, there is a tendency now to rediscover the lost cultural heritage, through application of formal ecological knowledge, in many developed country mountain situations like the European Alps. It is in the context, we need to consider the whole issue of sustainable forestry as part of the landscape management strategy in a biophysical sense linked with human resource development. The initial impetus amongst traditional societies for conservation of biodiversity) two interlinked systems, namely forests and croplands) seems to have arisen out of their animistic religious beliefs system. Such belief systems are a fundamental aspect of a peoples culture, which strongly conditions their use of natural resources. The concept of sacred grove, a small patch of the natural ecosystem that traditionally served as an area for religious rituals to propitiate their nature-linked deities, the Wind, Water, Fire, Sun, etc., as well as a site for he worship for their ancestral spirits, could be viewed as symbolic of nature-human inter-connections. From socio-ecological viewpoint, these inter-connections are significant for ensuring that, basis needs are met on a sustainable basis. Socio-ecological evolution can be seen as having diverged in opposite directions. On the one hand, there was a process of expansive evolution, where an entire landscape is recognized as sacred/cultural, so as to encompass a whole set of inter-connected ecosystems. The chief difference between a sacred grove and a landscape lies in that the former is an ecosystem, strictly protected from human impacts, whilst humans do live a sacred landscape, involving themselves in a variety of socio-economic activities, often linked with agriculture and forests. In that sense, these landscapes are subject to perturbations. However, in recent times external pressure may have led to large-scale perturbations. Ion nay case, two sub-divisions in such landscapes could be recognized: a diffused landscape, which is sacred or cultural but has few institutionalized restrictions, if any (e.g., many sacred mountains spread across the world); and more specified landscapes, where the institutional arrangements, both codified and/or non-codified are in place. In any case, many sacred landscape units are often distinct mega-or micro-watersheds that directly affect the livelihood of the societies living within them. A reductionist view of socio-ecological evolution would lead to the concept of sacred species. Our studies indicate that such socially selected species invariably have ecological keystone value in the ecosystem, performing key functions for ecosystem integrity. The concept of cultural landscape which was prevalent at a given point of time in the mountain regions of the western world, such as in the European Alps, ahs now been lost; however, there is a renewed interest to discover them. In the developing world, we are struggling hard to conserve these cultural landscapes, which are already breaking down! What do these protective impulses, which often cannot be articulated by the traditional societies, suggest in the contemporary context? TEK, which operates at a process level, linking ecological and social variables, should be studied through intense participatory research, and the validated knowledge integrated into the formula knowledge, as part of the modern scientific paradigm. Such an integrated approach is crucial for conserving and managing biodiversity, and to rehabilitate degraded forest landscape with embedded traditional agriculture systems within. Such an approach will ensure community participation in linking conservation with development, particularly in the developing world. Many traditional societies all over the world institutionalized in a variety of different ways large or small cultural landscape, as part of their belief system. In the Indian context too, culture-linked or small system management is to be found in many of the mountain societies, who have many natural resource-linked institutions. The concepts of sacred species, sacred groves and sacred landscape represent various stages in social selection. The guiding principles that regulate the use of natural resources are embedded in the codified and often non-codified institutions that they have evolved. These sacred institutions were originally intended to boost social solidarity rather than promoting environmental consciousness per se. While religious norms explicitly foster social solidarity, the conservation values, ipso-facto, also get fulfilled. It is in the context of ensuring community participation for effective management of natural resources, an integrated approach with culture based TEK as the inter-connecting element between ecological, socio-cultural and economic dimensions is required. Demajong: the cultural landscape of the Tibetan Buddhists: The sacred landscape evolved from this level of a protected segment of a landscape operates at two levels of hierarchy. The higher level, forming a diffused landscape with least specificity-linked institutions, has the greatest zone of human influence. Least specificity means lower number of prescriptions and prohibitions. An example of this is the conceptual sacred landscape traced by the Ganga river system. Starting from the higher reaches of the origin of this river in the north, at Gaumukh in the central Himalayan region, passing through temperate and sub-tropical mountain ranges, tracing its way through the large geographical region of the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains, the river system eventually ends up in the Bay of Bengal, in the east. This whole variety of natural landscapes ahs many religious institutions dotted all along he course of the river-Gangotri, Jamnotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rishikesh and Haridwar, all in the mountains; Sangam at Allahabad and Varanasi in the Indo-Ganjetic plains. These cultural landscapes have value in the context of modern instruments of biodiversity conservation, such as the concept of the World Heritage sites of UNESCO. Next in this landscape level hierarchy is the example of the Demajong, a cultural landscape in west Sikkim, based on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, with clearly institutional norms, and with a well defined boundary for sacredness; specified institutional arrangements, codified or non-codified to delimit human usage. The air, soil, water and biota are all sacred. Any perturbations to the landscape being restricted and circumscribed by the permissible cultural norms, the guiding principles for natural resource use are strictly enforced through the social institutions. Social institutions are often designed to allow small perturbations, whilst larger perturbations to ecosystems that destabilize them are prohibited. It is the in this context, of small versus large perturbations within the landscape, that there was a strong social reaction when the Government agencies attempted to have hydro-electric project initiated within the Demajong landscape region, which was finally abandoned under pressure. With a variety of rituals linked to the diverse communities living within the landscape boundary, who have their own pre-determined rights for natural resource use, larger community participation is ensured. Further sacredness is recognized through sacred landscape identified by diverse mountain societies of all religious faiths all over the world. Though involved in a variety of agriculture and animal husbandry practices, usage of natural ecosystems-both fresh water and forest-all linked to the domestic sector of the village ecosystem functions, for a variety their local needs. Cultural landscape concept for sustainable management of natural resources: Recognizing that, landscape level heterogeneity ensured until recent times by human societies, and which is still prevalent in more remote areas of the world where traditional societies live, is crucial for sustainable management of natural resources, the issue that is present concern is the options that are available to reverse the process of landscape homogenization that has to unsustainable land use practices. It is in this context the cultural landscape concept becomes significant. This paper considers the value of this concept of conserving biodiversity with sustained livelihood/development concerns of traditional societies.

Ramakrishnan, P.S., Chandrashekara, U.M., Edward, C., Guilmoto, C.Z., Maikur, R.K., Rao, K.S., Sankar, S., and Saxena, K.G., (eds.),"Traditional ecological knowledge and conserving the sacred",Mountain Biodiversity, Land Use Dynamics and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, pp. 337-341, New Delhi,2000
Sacred groves are part of a landscape, often a forested ecosystem, with well defined geographical features, delimited and protected by traditional societies for cultural/religious reasons. These groves are found in many parts of the world.

Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G. and Chandrashekara, U.M. (eds.),"Conserving the Sacred For Biodiversity Management",Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,1998
This book contains papers presented at a UNESO sponsored Workshop - role of Sacred Groves in Conservation and Management of Biological Diversity - held at Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Kerala in December 1997. The 37 papers contributed by scholars from India and abroad cover a wide range of topics related to sacred groves such as conceptual, historical and socio-cultural, case studies, and functional attributes, conservation, management and policy. The book emphasizes upon conserving the `sacred', in all its spatial dimensions ranging from species to landscape levels.

Raman, A. and Palavarayan, A.,"Recognition and conservation of plantresources in ancient Tamilgam: Some random thoughts",In: Krishna, N., & Prabhakaran, J. (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu. C.P.R. Environment, Education Centre, Chennai., pp. 45-53,1997
Ancient Tamil civilization worshipped trees, a trait that exists even today. This practice originated for the following reasons - Trees represented God and the worship of trees would enable the people to invoke God's blessings, evil spirits living in trees were believed to be pleased by worshipping the trees and good health was the grace of Goddess Amman who resided in trees. The ancient literature and folklores refer to worship of sacred groves. Such places of worship eventually turned into places of habitation.

Raman, K.V.,"The ecological tradition in Tamil literature and epigraphy",In: Krishna, N., & Prabhakaran, J., (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu. C.P.R. Environment Education Centre, Chennai, 17-27,1997
The Tamil language is blessed with one of the oldest and richest literary traditions going back to the 'Sangam' age. The five-fold classification of the tamil land (Five 'tinais') is described in the ancient work 'Tolkappiam'. This finer classification of the ecological zones also describes pattern of human lifestyle in the respective zones. Each zone was named after a flower unique to the area. The literature and epigraphic sources depict that the temples were located amidst groves and fertile fields e.g. Alagarmalai which was called 'Maal-irum-solai'.

Ramanujam, M.P.,"Conservation of Environment and Human Rights: Sacred Groves in Cultural Connections to Bio-diversity",The PRP Journal of Human Rights, pp. 34-38, January – March,2000
Almost all the villages of India have patches of natural vegetation in the form of sacred groves, where were established and protected by our ancestors in the name of God and traditions. It is our duty to protect these sacred groves on priority basis so that our natural heritage is conserved for the posterity at least in patches.

Ramanujam, M.P.,"Vanangalai Kaatha Iraiyachcham",Dinamani, July 29,1999
The sacred groves were preserved mainly because of people’s fear of God. The values of trees strengthened because of religious beliefs and rituals and environmental management was possible because of culture and traditions.

Ramanujam, M.P., Kadamban, D., Kumaravelu, G., and Praveenkumar, K.,"Sacred Groves--- An Overview",Ethnobotany, pp 13-53, Aavishkar Publishers, Jaipur,2002
Sacred groves are patches of natural vegetation demarcated by ancient societies and protected on the basis of religious practices and cultural traditions. They are distinct segments of various landscapes containing trees and other forms of life and geographical features. It is very important to protect these sacred groves in order to maintain the ecological balance.

Ramanujam, M.P., and Kadmaban,D.,"Plant Biodiversity of Two Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests in the Pondicherry Region of South India and the Role of Belief Systems in their Conservation",Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol.10 pp 1203-1217, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands,2001
Natural vegetation on the southeastern Peninsular India has now been reduced to patches, some of which area preserved as sacred groves. The plant biodiversity and population structure of woody plants in two such groves, Oorani and Olagapuram, occurring on the north-west of Pondicherry have been analysed. The vegetation structure indicates that the Oorani grove is a relic of tropical dry evergreen forest, whereas Olagapuram is reduced to a thorny woodland. The latter is heavily degraded as it has lost the status of a sacred grove because of its conversion to Eucalyptus plantations.

Ramanujam, M.P., and Cyril, K.P.K.,"Woody Species Diversity of Four Sacred Groves in the Pondicherry Region of South India",Biodiversity and Conservation, pp 1-11, Netheralands,2002
Plant wealth and diversity of four sacred groves – two anthropogenic stands and two natural forest patches – along the southeast coast of India adjoining Pondicherry was studied. A total of 111 species belonging to 103 genera in 53 families, were recorded from the four sites, which together measure 15.6 ha. The number of woody species was 20 in each in Keezhbuvanagiri and Kilialamman grove, followed by 13 in Periyakattupalayam and 15 in Periyamudaliar Chavadi. The persistence of the groves until the present time is a testimony to the sacred grove status enjoyed by them.

Rao, P.S.N,"The Status of Sacred Groves in Maharashtra: an Overview",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
With more than 400 sacred groves constituting about 3570 has (estimated c 10000 ha inclusive of those which are under private control) of area and comprising of nearly 790 species belonging 352 genera which being montane subtropical evergreen, moist deciduous and dry deciduous elements, the Maharashtra State is one of the few state in India where considerable floristic and ecological work in sacred groves was turned out in view of the fact that these are more or less pockets of climax vegetation serving as repository of medicinal, ethno-botanical, mythological and ecological importance. Being the relicts of conserved natural forests these sacred groves are locally known as Deorai or Deorahat and are deeply associated with religious beliefs that they are the abode of Forest God any removal of plant material or killing animals in the sacred grove is s taboo. The floristic composition of sacred groves in Maharashtra shows some common trees like Terminalia bellirica, T. Chebula, Lagerstroemia microcarpa, Cassia fistula, Albizia chinensis, Atalantia racemosa, Dysoxylum binectariferum, Ixora brachiata, Mangifera indica, Memecylon umbellatum etc. Some rare tree species are Aglaia lawii*, Diospyros ooarpa, Elaeocarpus nimmmonii, Prunes ceylanica, Syzygium cumini, S. hemisphericum etc. Besides, many shrubs and climbers also thrive luxuriantly associated with the tree species mentioned above thus giving a grand and impenetrable green canopy. Some of the common shrubs and rare climbers noticed are Clerodendrum viscosum, Carissa inermis, Salacia macroperma, Naravelia zeylanca, Paramignya glaucescens along with some herbaceous elements such as Gymnostachyum glabrum, Floscopa scandens and some species of Begonia, Sida, Tirumfette and blumea. According to the inventory of sacred groves complied by Vartak and Madhav Gadgil (1981) there are still many scared groves not studied in detail in Maharashtra. The contributions of Vartak on the scared groves in particular and the studies made by the Botanical Survey of India in general have greatly helped in understanding the importance of these devrais and their conservation. However despite the statutory protection of the sacred groves by including them in the draft Biodiversity Bill by the Indian government, more than 150 groves are adversely affected especially in Kollapur, Satara and Pune districts due to water reservoirs and catchment areas that have been coming up in recent times. Increasing pace of deforestation owing to increase in population and commercialisation of agriculture is responsible for the encroachment of man sacred groves.

Rao, N.R.K.,"Thimmamma Marrimanu – Significant Sacred Grove of the World",Paper presented in the seminar on “Sacred Groves of India – Their Biodiversity and Conservation”, Hyderabad,1996
The single sacred tree grove popularly called “ Thimmamma Marrimanu” is located in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a most significant grove in the world and is the best example of the most valuable legacies of the primitive practices of nature conservation.

Rao, P.,"Sacred Groves and Conservation",Discover India, Vol. 9, No. 10, pp. 48-49,1996
Sacred groves are excellent examples of how our natural resources can be effectively managed. Continuous conservation of these groves will promote consciousness about religion and nature.

Rao, P.,"Sacred Groves and Conservation",WWF India, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 4-8,1996
Despite being unique examples of conservation sacred groves have not attracted the attention of scientists, forester or administrator of the country.

Rao, R.R.,"Sacred Groves – A National Heritage for Conservation",In: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
Sacred grove is a patch of forest of a larger forest left untouched by the local inhabitants on religious myths or beliefs. These natural treasure houses of plants can satisfy the aesthetic, scientific, cultural and recreational needs of mankind. All sacred forests of the country should be treated as ‘ Hot Spot Areas’ for immediate protection.

Rao, R.S.,"Sacred Groves in India – Their Biodiversity and Conservation",In: Abstracts of seminar on Sacred Groves of India – Their Biodiversity Conservation, Hyderabad April 21,1996
For many centuries people have protected sacred groves with the firm belief as the Abode of Atma/Spirit of their ancestors. Many such sacred groves have been known to some extent in various states of India. If well protected with the protection with the cooperation and awareness of local people, these groves will serve as excellent plant resource centres.

Ravishankar, T., Vedavalli, L., Namlei, A.A., and Selvam, V.,"Sacred Groves: An Effective Method of Preserving Biodiversity",Role of Tribal Communities in the Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources, pp 30-36,1995
Sacred groves are one of the finest instances of traditional conservation practices and function as important centres of biodiversity. These sacred groves serve as repositories for conserving plant genetic resources.

Risley, H.H.,"The Tribes and Castes of Bengal",Vol. I, Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, India, Calcutta,1981
Bhuiya tribals have their own priests and their sacred groves called `Deotasara' dedicated to four deities - Dasum Pat, Bamoni Pat, Koisar Pat and Boram. Boram is the sun. Stones in the Sara represent the three minor deities, but Boram has no representation.

Risley, H.H.,"The Tribes and Castes of Bengal",Vol. II, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, India, Calcutta,1981
The popular Gods of Santal tribe are: Marang Buru, Moreko, Jair era, Gosain era, Pargana, Manjhi. All the Gods have their allotted place in the sacred grove, and are worshipped only in public. Marang Buru alone is also worshipped privately in the family.

Risley, H.H.,"The Tribes and Castes of Bengal",Vol. II, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, India, Calcutta,1981
Deswali or Kara sarna is the God of the village who lives with his wife Jahir Burhi on Sarhul sarna in the sarna or sacred grove, a patch of forest primeval left intact to afford a refuge to the forest God. Every village among the Mundas has its own Deswali, who is held responsible for the crops and receives periodical worship at agricultural festivals.

Risley, H.H.,"The Tribes and Castes of Bengal",Vol. II, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, India, Calcutta,1981
The Orans of the Western portion of Chhotanagpur plateau, where there are few Mundas ignore the bongas and pay their devotion of Darha, the ‘sarna burhi’ (lady of the grove) and the village bhut. The sacred groves are remnant of old sal forest in which the Oraons locate their popular deity sarna burhi.

Risley, H.H.,"The Tribes and Castes of Bengal",Vol. II, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, India, Calcutta,1981
The Savaras worship of the brahamanical deities is gaining ground among them, but the elder Gods, Thanpati dwells in the than or sacred grove.

Rodgers, W.A.,"The Sacred Groves of Meghalaya",Man in India, 74(4): 339-348,1994
The paper details the origins of the sacred groves in Meghalaya, and contrasts the density of groves found there with groves elsewhere in south Asia. The pressures of deforestation for iron smelting etc, are discussed. The types of groves in Meghalaya are classified and described. Botanical details are given in some cases. The paper ends with a review of the value of traditional conservation mechanisms, such as sacred groves, in a modern protected area conservation system.

Roy Burman, J.J.,"Sacred groves in Islam",Wastelands News, August-October 1998, pp. 24-27,1998
In this paper the authors shows that wherever there is Hindu-Muslim syncretism is ubiquitous like West Bengal, the association of sacred groves or trees is a common phenomenon. The author gives several examples of this phenomenon in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, etc. The author concludes, "Muslim religion is an open to local traditions (the so-called little traditions) as any other religion".

Roy Burman, J.J.,"The role of sacred groves in social formation",Vanyjati, April 1997, pp. 15-18,1997
In this paper the author discusses the significance of Kabi Longtsok sacred grove in Sikkim. He shows that this sacred grove provides a rare illustration where it plays an extremely important role in providing a basis of political alliance of the Bhutia-Lepcha communities - which is indispensable for these tribes for safeguarding their ethnic identities as against the large profligate Nepalese communities which have immigrated in to Sikkim in the last few decades.

Roy Burman, J.J.,"A comparison of sacred groves among the Mahadeo, Kolis and Kunbis of Maharashtra",ndian Anthropologist, 26: 37-45,1996
The author in this article has compared the social significance of the sacred groves among the Mahadeo Kolis and the Kunbis of western Maharashtra. The Mahadeo Kolis are a tribe, where as Kunbis are agricultural peasants. The main findings of the study are : The groves among the Mahadeo Kolis possess more Bamboo than the Kunbi groves; environmentally the groves among the both the communities are similar; among the Kunbis groves are often associated with sacred ponds; the Kolis have more groves than the Kunbis; the groves among Kolis are bigger and better preserved; the nature of deities depict significant difference in the two communities; among the Kunbis sacred grove– temple is often seen; there are plenty of groves dedicated along the ancient trade routes in the Kunbi areas but are absent in the Koli areas; the ritual complex centering the grove is more elaborate among the Kunbis than the Kolis.

Roy Burman, J.J.,"The Dynamics of Sacred Groves",Journal of Human Ecology, 6 (4): 245-254,1995
The institution of sacred groves in an age-old system which probably dates as far back as the pre-agrarian times. While the anthropologists had mainly studied it as a cultural manifestation, the environmentalists have of late been trying to figure it exclusively from the ecological domains. This paper, however, makes a modest attempt to depict it from an ontological, ecological, political and economic perspective. It concluded that the sacred groves in a multifaceted institution which is subject to changes according to the shifting fundamentally manifesting itself as a symbol of self assertion and contours of which can be utilised for social development.

Roy Burman, J.J.,"The institution of sacred grove",Journal of Indian Anthropological Society, 27: 219-238,1992
The institution of sacred refers to a very ancient prudent practice of nature conservation evolved by man. Succinctly speaking sacred groves are a clump of trees or a patch of forest dedicated to one or more deities. Usually many prohibitions and sanctions are attached to the groves for their protection. The guardian deities of the groves sanctify such taboos. The sacred groves are distributed widely in different parts of the world. In India they are spread right from the North-East to the southern tip of Kerala. In the recent times a rapid depletion of the sacred groves has been noticed in the country. Usually, attenuation of religious feelings is ascribed to this. A close look at the problems related to the groves, however, indicates that application of the colonial laws of land regulation by the government is one of the major factors of their depletion. It is also apparent that contrary to general belief, depletion of the sacred groves is occurring despite an increase in their religiosity. In many areas the sacred groves again are providing the platform for social mobilisation against the state policies or for the purpose of social and environmental development.

Roy, S.C.,"The Birhors: A Little known Jungle Tribe of Chota Nagpur",Man in India Office, Ranchi,1978
By the side of most Birhor settlements is a `sacred grove' called the Jayar or Jilujayar, marked by one or more trees and in some settlements a few blocks of stone. This is the seat of the Sendra-bongas or spirits presiding over the hunt, such as the Chandi-bonga and other Sangi bongas or spirits common to the community. The main deities besides Singbonga, the creator and Devimai or the Earth Goddess, are certain hill spirits and ancestor spirits. A few beast Gods such Bagh bir (Tiger God), Hundar-bir (Wolf God), Bir Banhey (Orangutan), Bandar Bir (Monkey God) and Hanuman bir (Baboon God)are also propitiated. Although certain trees are believed to be the abode of spirits, tree-worship, as a cult, is unknown.

Roy, S.C.,"The hill Bhuiyas of Orissa",Man in India Office, Ranchi,1935
Boram (also called Mangala) and Gaisri (also called Gram Sri or Basuri or Basuki Mata or Thakurani) are the general village Gods of Hill Bhuiya tribals. The permanent sacred grove is known as Jahira. Boram is said to be the husband of Gai-sri.

Roy, S.C. and Roy, R.C.,"The Kharias",Vol.II., Man in India Office, Ranchi,1937
The sacred grove of Kharia tribals is known as Baram sal and in some villages as Thakuram sal and consists of one or more stones representing the deities, ceremonially installed under some large tree or trees. The baram sal is generally situated outside the settlement under the Jari or Aswatha tree or mango tree or some other large tree or clump of trees.

Saldanha, I.M.,"Colonialism and Professionalism : A German Forester in India",Economic and Political Weekly,1996
Dietrich Brandis was a German forester who put forth many new systems for forest management system and conservation in India. He also had a great awareness of the value of indigenous systems of forest management (sacred groves).

Sankaramurthy, S. and J. Murali,"Management of Sacred Groves in Tamil Nadu",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2
The significance of sacred groves for conservation of native biodiversity, particularly for endemic and relic species, as corridors between large officially protected areas, and as habitats of bio-indicators to detect adverse environmental changes and disturbances, are explained. Lack of adequate information on the current physical and biological status andn the threats to which the sacred groves are exposed, is highlighted. The available information on the number and size of sacred groves in Tamil Nadu is furnished. Detailed measures for restoration and sustained management of sacred groves are proposed. Proposals for detailed inventories of the sacred grove and for constitution of Community Reserves and Community Reserve Management Committees under Section 36-C and Section 36-D of the recently amended Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 are proposed for the proper management of the sacred groves. The need for involving NGOs interested in the conservation of biodiversity and proper management of sacred groves and organizing a network of NGOs under the auspices of ICFRE is stressed.

Santhakumaran, L.N., Singh, A., and Thomas, V.T.,"Further notes on the sacred grove at Bamber in Goa (India)",Wood, April-June,1996
The paper discusses the vegetation of the sacred grove at Bamber in Sateri taluk of Goa state. It categorizes the vegetation in the category of Myristica swamp forests of 'Moist Tropical Forests' according to Champion and Seth.

Santhosh Kumar, E.S., Yeragi, S.S., Babu, K.N., and Sreekandan Nair, G.,"Sacred Grove Flora of Kerala- I New Plant Records for Kerala",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp 141-143, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,2002
Floristic analysis in the sacred groves of Kerala revealed the presence of many new species of plants - Cadaba trifoliata (Roxb) Wight and Arn., Drypetes sepiaria (Wight and Arn.) Pax and Hoffm. and Justicia betonica Linn. var. ramossima (Nees) Clarke have been reported as a new record for Kerala.

Sarangi, A.C.,"Ecological awareness in Kalidasa's Dramas",In: Jha, V.N.,(ed.), Proceedings of the National Seminar on Ecological Awareness Reflected in Sanskrit Literature, University of Poona, pp. 128-142,1991
Kalidasa in his Abhijnana - Sakuntalam introduces the drama with the holy environments of nature. The hero of the drama Dusyanta enters the sacred sites of the tranquil hermitage to purify himself and he is refrained from killing of the hermitage - deer. He sees in the forest that the ground is strewn with Nivara-grains dropped down from the parrot's nests and the oily stones indicative of breakers of Ingudi - fruits (used by the pious foresters for softening their matted hair). He also observes the deer moving freely with confidence and water channels scattered throughout the forest. The tender foliage of trees has changed their colour because of the rise of the smoke from sacrificial ghee. This has a lasting effect on the people and is corroborated from the statement of Dusyanta when he remarks that "Penance - groves are indeed fit to be entered in a simple dress". The king is invited by Priyamvada to sit on the Saptaparna - dias cool on account of dense forest to remove his fatigue. Sakuntala, the heroine too is feeling then a change in herself, which she thinks unsuitable for the holy hermitage. Similarly in the second act Dusyanta asks the General to warn his soldiers not to disturb the quiet atmosphere of the hermitage.

Saraswati, B.,"The logos and the mythos of the sacred groves",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 31-46,1998
The author in this paper demonstrates that ecology was a `sacred science' for the ancients who lived in a world of rich and vivid experience. Ecology needs a language, which the philosophers, poets and prophets know. Language is a body, a part of oneself. There cannot be a real representation of the ancient thoughts of the sages in another body.

Sashikumar, C,"Avifauna of the Sacred Groves of North Kerala",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves of Kerala, known as kavu are patches of relic forest set aside by the ancestors as abodes of Gods. 576 kavu are known to exist in the northern districts of Kannur and Kasaragod. Avifauna of 15 groves of the region distributed in the highland, midland and coastal area were studied 129 species were from the 15th groves with a total area of 109.05 ha. This amounts to 25.8% of the total number of species found in Kerala. 71 of these (55.04%) were forest birds representing 61.74% of the forest birds of Kerala. 11% of the forest birds were raptors, which included Crested Goshawk (Accipier trivirgatus), Besra Sparrow hawk (Accipiter virgatus), Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus), Mottled Wood Owl (Strix ocellata), Brown Wood Owl (Strix leptogrammica) etc. Some of these birds of prey had rodents as their major food, thus being highly beneficial to the local agricultural community. 36% of the birds recovered were forest inferior birds 53% forest edge birds. Forest interior birds possess high conservation values as they are usually found in large tracts of contiguous and could be considered as an indicator of habitat quality. It was found that 5 of the groves, which were located as a cluster and closer to the larger forested area held the maximum number of forests birds in the sample. The number of species of birds was found to increase with the area of the grove within the cluster. The study showed that the sacred groves act as a species pool from which the forests birds colonized newly available habitat patches. The sacred groves as habitat patches are important in the biodiversity conservation of the area as they hold a considerable number of birds of conservation value. The sacred groves could serve as a model in designing small reserves within a matrix of human habitation.

Sasikumar, B.,"The Sacred Groves of Kerala",Kisan World, Vol. 22, No.6, p. 57,1995
Sacred groves of Kerala Kavus support a wide variety of flora and fauna and play an important role in preventing the depletion of ground water level or ground water table.

Saxena, K.G., Rao, K.S., and Maikhuri, R.K.,"Religious and cultural perspective of biodiversity conservation in India: A review",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G. & Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. pp. 153-161,1998
In this paper the authors present a critical review of the traditional nature worship practices in different parts of India, emerging trends and scope of these practices in promoting the national/regional goals of conservation.

Schultes, E.R.,"The Importance of Ethnobotany in Environmental Conservation",Environmental Awareness, Vol.15, No.4, pp.133-138,1992
Ethnobotany is the study of the uses, technological manipulation, magico-religious concepts, conservation techniques and general sociological importance of plants in primitive societies.

Seker, T.,"Peoples Participation in Shola Conservation Banagudi Shola Experience",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Banagudi literally meaning a serene place of worship is a shoal forest extending over 22.47 hectares and is located about 4 km from Aravenu in the Kotagiri taluk in Nilgiris North Division of Coimbatore forest circle. Surrounded on all sides by monoculture tea plantations, Kesalada Reserve Forest constituting this shoal patch is considered as an; evergreen oasis. The Banagudi shola is a tree representation of biodiversity abundance that is typical of any mid elevation temperate evergreen forests. Habitat for multi-tier vegetation mosaic comprising of scores of trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers, epiphytes and ferns, this shoal is also home to over a score of mammalian and reptilian monuments of anthropological significance, including some ancient temples, cromlechs and dolmens. These sites of archaeological importance are preserved and worshipped by various indigenous people groups of Nilgiris. Thus, the sacredness and sanctity of the shoal combined with the services it provided in the form of sustaining water supply to the nearby habitations have been taken advantage of in spearheading a people-sponsored conservation initiative for the protection and preservation of this shola pocket. Initiated in 2001, along the lines of Longwood shoal watchdog committee, the Banagudi shoal committee is providing joint patrolling besides organizing environment and wildlife conservation orientation programmes on a regular basis. The paper discusses the process of institutionalization of he watchdog committee so that similar attempts can be made to preserve the vulnerable shoal pockets in Nilgiris District with active public participation.

Shankar, B.,"Restoration of sacred groves",in: Krishna, N., & Prabhakaran, J., (eds.), The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, C.P.R. Environment Education Centre, Chennai, pp. 65-75,1997
The author has suggested measures for the restoration of sacred groves. These include - determination of site, clearing thorny shrubs and fencing, soil working, selection of species, different patterns of pitting, planting process, saucing and watering and after-care of restored site.

Shankar, B., and Amirthalingam, M.,"Sacred Groves of Tamilnadu",in: Papers Presented in the National Conference on Conservation of Sacred Groves and Ecological Heritage Sites, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
A district wise survey of the sacred groves of Tamilnadu has been conducted and around 450 groves have been recorded. The majority of the groves were found in Perambalur, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruchirapalli districts. There are many documented reports on sacred groves from several regions of the country but there is no national policy on this ecosystem. The sacred groves require a legal standing to ensure their conservation.

Sharma, S., Rikhari, H.C., and Palni. L.S.,"Conservation of Natural Resources Through Religion: A Case Study From Central Himalaya",G.B.Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora,1996
The traditional societies were more conserving and respectful of their surrounding natural resources. The sacred groves are a effective means of conservation wherein the most used trees were planted and protected by the traditional societies.

Singh, G.S., and Saxena, K.G.,"Sacred groves in the rural landscape: A case study of Shekhala village in Rajasthan",in: P.S. Ramakrishnan, K.G. Saxena and U.M. Chandrashekara (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 277-288,1998
The authors in this case study give a detailed landscape level analysis of biodiversity management in a typical village Shekhala in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. Details of land use pattern, human and cattle populations in the village are provided. The sacred grove covers an area of 83 ha (4.7% of total land-use cover) and 39 plant species. Presently 10% of fuel wood requirement, 20% of livestock feed, and 40% of other NTFPs are met from the scared grove. A detailed analysis of people's perceptions regarding ecosystem degradation has been given. The paper concludes that the utilization of biodiversity needs to be looked into at the scale of village landscape; biodiversity in scared grove could be enhanced through improvement in productivity in other lands; and biodiversity conservation can be enhanced only when the people realize economic benefits from conservation.

Singh, G.S., Rao, K.S. and Saxena, K.G.,"Eco-cultural analysis of sacred species and ecosystems in Chhakinal watershed, Himachal Pradesh",in: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 301-314,1998
This paper deals with social, cultural and ecological dimensions of sacred groves, forests and pastures at landscape scale, considering a micro-watershed as a unit. The Chhakinal watershed is in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It has an area of 45 km2 with nine human settlements (322 households). Each settlement has its own sacred grove, sizes vary from 0.1 ha to 5.5 ha; there are 11 sacred groves. The paper gives species richness and dominance-diversity curves of sacred groves as well as in other areas. Nagoni sacred grove had highest species - 13 tree species, 6 shrubs and 34 herbs. The paper gives a detailed analysis of local perceptions of sacredness, and factors causing erosion of traditional conservation culture. The paper concluded: Conservation ethos needs to be capitalized upon for promoting biodiversity conservation through appropriate scientific management innovations.

Singh, J., and I. P. Bora,"Sacred groves of Meghalayas- Status, Floristic composition and conservation strategies",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves are small patches of natural or near-natural vegetation by local communities to the ancestral spirit or deities. In Meghalaya, 79 sacred have been reported and these are present in different part of the state, covering an area 10,511.7 ha. A baseline floristic survey revealed that these groves represent with 514 species 340 genera and 131 families and at least 50 rare and endangered plant species. The highest number of species followed by Poaceae, Rubisceae and Rosaceae represents Orchidaceous. Among tree species, Fagacae members are dominant in most of sacred groves. Epiphytic floras are quite abundant. Lianas and ferns are also common in the groves. Depending upon the level of protection and canopy cover, the sacred groves of Meghalaya is categorized as undisturbed groves (100% canopy cover); Dense groves (more than 40% but less that 100% canopy cover); Sparse groves (more than 10% but less than 40% canopy cover) and open groves (less than 10% canopy cover). The vegetation of undisturbed groves is very dense and well stratified. The floral richness of this sacred groves is evident from the presence of old growth trees and the age old nature of the forest, harbouring a number of evergreen the species, orchids, orchids, fern, climbers and lianas. The tree species found in these sacred groves are Alseodaphne petiolaris, Callicarpa arborea, Castanopsis indica, Castanopsis mystrix, Cinnomomum sp., and Emblica floribunda, Engeihardtia spicata, Eugenia sp., Eurya acuminate, Exbucklandia populnea, Helica erratica, Lindera melastomacea, Lindera pulcherrima, Litsaea salicifolia, Machilus odoratissima, Mangelietia insignis, Myrica eaculendra, Quercus griffithii, Quercus spicata, Schefflera hyppoleuca, Schima wallichii, Symplocos sp. and Symolocos spicata. Among the shrubs Ardisia undulata, Eurya japonica, Gonithalamus sesquipedalis, Mahonia pycnophylla, melastoma normale, Mussenda frondosa, Randia spinosa, Rubus ellipticus and Thysanplaena maximum are common. Role of sacred groves in maintenance of biodiversity is undoubtedly significant. These groves tend to be garments of the original ecosystem in a given region. Because they are protected the groves that are derived from natural forests often shelter plant and animal species that may have disappeared elsewhere in the region. Thus they serve as refugia, and possible centres of dispersal and restoration. In Meghalaya, considering the vast area under the sacred groves big size of individual grove, their location on critical sites and the religious taboos attached to them the concept of sacred groves conservation in Meghalaya seems to be an indigenous knowledge system conceived, developed and perpetuated by the indigenous tribal people of the state. To create and develop awareness about these resources among the local people is very important and difficult as well. It was found that generally 70% of the local people around the sacred forest areas are quite ignorant about the available resources; i.e. locally used medicinal plants, decreasing availability if wild fruits etc. It clearly indicates that the present generation is least bothered and aware about plant resources around them. In this situation creation of mass awareness about the intangible benefits and ecosystem services provided by these vegetation patches and their biodiversity value would be an essential component of conservation plan. It is required to develop ways and means for limited extraction of produces in order to sustain the interest of the people in preservation of these groves. Protection from fire, cattle grazing and unauthorized product extraction is paramount to conservation programme and this can be achieved only conservational values behind their traditional beliefs. Efforts should also be made to protect this unique habitat by declaring them as natural monuments.

Singh, Ranjay K, Srivastava, R.C., Community, Adi and T.K. Mukherjee,Toko-Patta (Livistona jenkinsiana Griff): Adi community and conservation of culturally important endangered tree species in eastern Himalaya, IJTK, Vol.9 (2), April 2010, Pp.231 241.,
Arunachal Pradesh, being a largest state of Northeast India, harbours great number of plant species which are endemic to region. The diversity and endemism of state has kept it in the category of biodiversity hot-spot. Though, in recent past, numbers of plant species are being listed as rare, endangered and threatened because of increasing threats from anthropogenic and other natural factors. In the list of threatened species, Livistona jenkinsiana Griff- locally called, Toko by the Adi tribe has also been mentioned. Based on the village and forest survey, initially it was observed that Toko is good in numbers and conserved by the tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. This dichotomy of Toko being reported as threatened and actual large number of population maintained by tribes has necessitated conducting the study in the East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The study was conducted during 2005-2008. East Sing and Adi tribe have been selected purposively. A sample of 303 male (138) and female (165) Adi members were chosen as the respondents of the study. The ecological attributes of the species, biocultural dimensions, gender role, institutional relation and conservation of species in varying habitats were studied. Using personal interview and PRA methods data were collected. Results indicate that Toko is conserved in jhum lands, Morang forest and home gardens at the larger scale. The women play a significant role in conservation of this species. Number of bioculturally important products is made out of the leaves and fruits of Toko. Indigenous institution has still great role to control overexploitation of this species and solve the dispute on Toko. This species is conserved at large scale on the individual ownership; however, the collective conservation of Toko in Morang forest by the Adi tribe is an appreciable effort. From six villages, total 33,026 numbers of trees were recorded in 2008 at the range of 110-180 m altitude.

Sinha, B., and Maikhuri, R.K.,"Conservation through 'socio-cultural religious practices in Garhwal Himalaya: A case study of Hariyali sacred site",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 289-299,1998
In this paper the authors provide a list of 22 sacred plant species in the central Himalayan region, and report results of a detailed study of Hariyali sacred grove in Chamoli district of Uttar Pradesh. The area covered by the grove is 5.5 km2. Fifteen villages around Hariyali with 6,000 inhabitants of Brahmin, Rajput and Scheduled castes participate in different rituals performed at the grove. The paper gives details of the myth of Hariyali devi, rituals, taboos and folklores, socio-economic and ecological role of the grove, as well as phyto-sociological attributes of the grove and none sacred forest. The paper opines that priority needs to be given to strengthen traditional systems of conservation of natural resources.

Social Action Group for Emancipation (SAGE),"Survey of Istala Viruksham, Nandavanam and Thoppus of the Temples in Tiruchirappalli District",Tiruchirappalli,1993
The Report is the study of the sthalavrikshas, Nandavanams and Water source of 51 temples in Tiruchirappalli District. The report gives details of temple location, importance, prospects of nandavanam and water source of all the 51 temples. The report is the first phase and it is submitted to the Indian Environmental Society, New Delhi and the C.P.R.Environmental Education Centre, Chennai.

Srinivasan, M., Ramawamy, G. and Easa, P.S.,"Studies on Lizard Diversity in Selected “Sacred Groves of Kerala",Cobra, Vol. 34, pp. 12-15,1998
Sacred groves are abodes of various organisms. Studies on lizard diversity in 3 sacred groves in Kerala showed there were 7 species of lizards belonging to 4 families.

Srivastava, S.K.,"The Tharus - A Study in Culture Dynamics",Agra University press, Agra,1958
On the outskirts of every village of Tharu tribals, towards the east is to be found the Than of the village Goddess Bhumsen collectively representing all the Gods, Goddesses and spirits under a pipal or nim tree. Each Bhumsen consists of mound of earth on which Bharara of the village ceremonially installs other deities in smaller mounds. The main deities to be represented in Bhumsen are seven mother Goddesses, namely, Durga, Kalka, Sitala, Jwala, Parwati, Hulaka, and Purwa, the chief village deity Agarai and two other powerful spirits, Kharga and Pachhawar.

Subramanian, K.N., K.R.Sasidharan and N.Venkatasubramanian,"Floristic Diversity of Iringole Kavu, Ernakulam District, Kerala State",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Worshipping nature and various living beings has been practiced in India, from the immemorial. This led to conservation of nature, plants and animals to some extent. The Sacred Groves available in different parts of the country are examples of how peoples firm belief can protect the natural vegetation from denudation. The Sacred Groves exist throughout Kerala State. They are mostly associated with Serpent Gods, Goddess Durga or Lord Ayyappa. Altogether there are 761 Sacred Groves recorded in Kerala State. The Sacred Grove of Iringole, situated near Perumbavoor town of Ernakulam District, in the central part of Kerala State, having an area of 20 hectares is one such, which has been protected due to strong religious faith. The temple of Goddess Karthyayani or Durga is situated in the center of this Sacred Grove and worshipped by people. The whole Sacred Grove area is considered as the sanctum sanctorum of the Goddess. Analysis of the flora reveals that it is similar to that of pure climax evergreen vegetation occurring in low altitude tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. The present study has brought to light 94 plant species belonging to 85 genera and 52 families. Herbaceous species dominate the vegetation in number, followed by arborested species, shrubs and climbers. The dominant family in this Sacred Grove is Euphorbiaceae represented by 7 genera and 9 species. Species such as Artocarpus hisuta, Lam., Ervaamia heyneana Bedd. Holigarna arnkottiana Hk.f, Hopea parviflora Bedd. H. Ponga (Dennst.) Mabberly impatiens kleini weight & Arn., Polyalthia fragrans (Dalzell) Bedd. And Vateria indica L. endemic to Western Ghats, found in the Sacred Grove is very interesting. Dipterocarpacea has the maximum number of 3 endemic species, in the Sacred Grove. Utility potential of the species available in the Sacred Grove is brought out and need for exhaustive studies are suggested. Anthropocentric pressures, land reforms and changing of joint family system have been some of the major factors responsible for destruction or shrinking of the Sacred Groves. The significance and timber species, medicinal plants, food plants and other economically and ecologically important species, in the context of fast rate of deterioration of nature forests in the mountains areas are highlighted.

Sukumaran, S, and Raj, A. D. S,Medicinal plants of sacred groves in Kanyakumari district Southern Western Ghats, IJTK., Vol. 9 (2), April, 2010, Pp. 294-299. ,
An attempt has been made to identify folklore medicinally important plants frequently used by rural communities of sacred groves and it environs of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. A total of 34 medicinal plants from 33 genera under 29 families were enumerated. Most of the plants are used for curing earache, skin diseases, fever, cold, headache, cough, urinary disorder, ulcer, etc. Of 29 families, 26 families were nonspecific. Plants of Rutaceae was largely represented (4 species), followed by Euphorbiaceae and Sapindaceae.

Sukumaran, S., A.D.S. Raj and P. Daniel,"The Sacred Groves as Sanctuaries for residual (RET) Plants: A Case Study",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Man has an inseparable relationship with the biosphere or his living environment, which plays an important role to meet his own requirement. Different nations have the sacred groves as their heritages. The traditional worship in sacred groves started in India from the pre-historic. These sacred groves are distinct and unique in their biodiversity, some of them just relics of once gregarious vegetation.

Sukumaran, S., S. Jeeva, A.D. Sobhana Raj and D. Kannan,"Floristic diversity, Conservation status and economic value of miniature sacred groves in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, Southern Peninsular India",Turk. J. Bot., Vol. 32,2008
The plant diversity of southern peninsular India has recently been reduced to a great extent due to anthropogenic disturbance and environmental degradation. Disturbance was the major factor responsible for fragmentation of forest vegetation; as a result of this, there is a preponderance of small patches, some of them still preserved as sacred groves because of strong religious beliefs held by the indigenous people of this region. It is thought that one of the prime utilities of sacred groves is the protection and occasional supply of medicinal plants on a sustainable basis. Most of the medicinal plants were confined to these groves only. During the study period we inventoried 201 miniature sacred groves covering an area of 13.1 ha. Among these, 10 sacred forests are present in Agastheeswaram, 11 in Thovalai, 72 in Kalkulam, and 108 in Vilavancode taluk. The floristic richness of the sacred groves in Kanyakumari district was analysed. A total of 329 species belonging to 251 genera of 100 families were enumerated from the miniature sacred forests of Kanyakumari district. Of these, 42 species were endemic, 40 very rare, 47 rare, and 16 endangered. Since there is minimal exploitation of these groves, they are considered a home to certain rare, endangered, and endemic plants and are rich in biodiversity. These sacred groves are closely related to the social and cultural life of a people and a number of cultural rites and religious rituals have perpetuated the status of a sacred grove, which has ensured the protection of the sacred grove vegetation in pristine condition.

Sunita, S., and Ravi Prasad Rao, B.,"Sacred Groves in Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh",Biodiversity, Taxonomy and Conservation of Flowering Plants, pp 367-373, Mentor Books, Calicut,1999
Kurnool district, one of the four districts of Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh encompasses parts of a plant diversity centre, Nallamalais and two wildlife sanctuaries. Intensive explorations held for over three years identifies 40 major sacred groves in the district. Many of the groves are with perennial water resources and harbouring rich floristic diversity, and extending over 20 ha area are located in the forests.

Swamy, P.S., Sundarpandian, S.M., and Chandrasekaharan, S.,"Sacred Groves of Tamil Nadu",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G.& Chandrashekara, U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 357-361,1998
This article deals with the ecological and socio-cultural attributes of sacred groves in Tamil Nadu. The deity in most of the groves is snake God. An inventory of floral species found in these groves is given. The author concludes: In general, the areas under sacred groves are fast depleting and are looked upon now as a source of income. Appropriate policy interventions are needed to promote venues of income such as ecotourism so that biodiversity in sacred groves could be conserved together with development of local community.

Tambat, B.S., Channamallikarjuna, V., Rajanikanth, G., Ravikanth, G., Kushalappa, C.G., Shaanker, R.U., and Ganeshaiah, K.N.,"Fragment sizes and diversity of species assemblages in sholas and sacred groves: Are small fragments any worth?",Ganeshaiah, K.N., Shaanker, R.U., and Bawa, K.S., (eds.), Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare, Proceedings of the International Conference Tropical Ecosystems. Oxford-IBH, New Delhi, pp. 314-318,2001
Smaller islands would exhibit high variation than the larger islands. We tested the prediction using two forest fragment systems, namely sacred groves and shola forests. Thus, our results indicate that smaller fragments of the forests are more diverse among themselves with respect to their species composition than the larger fragments and this may have important implications for designing the size of the protected areas.

Tetali, P., and Gunale, V.R.,"Status of Sacred Groves in the Western Ghats Tanaji Sagar Dam Catchment Area",Biol, Ind., Vol. 1, No.1, pp. 9 - 16,1990
The present study deals with the present status of sacred groves in the Tanaji Sagar Dam Catchments Area. This study highlights the presence of rare and endangered species of animals and plants and their importance in conservation order to protect biological diversity. Importance of sacred groves and measures for conservation has been discussed.

Thusu, K.N.,"The Dhurwa of Bastar",Anthropological Survey of India, Memoir No. 16, Calcutta,1965
The village shrines of Dhurwa tribals are located near the foothill of Dangar Chandi (hill), in the habitation areas of the village, even in the midst of the scrub jungles and the cultivated fields. Again, while most of these shrines are fitted with circular bamboo fencing with a bamboo door in the middle, a few of them are also provided with two sloped thatching roof. Two of the shrines (viz. Ladri mata and Maoli mata are fitted with a swing (ucal) which consists of two upright wooden posts joined together by a cross bar and provided with a wooden seat which is fitted with sharp-pointed iron nails over which the sirah (medium) sits when he is possessed by the deity. A small stone invariably found near the door of the fencing to represent the Duor (usia) Mandia - an attendant of the concerned deity. Within the precincts of the shrine, one finds an earthen plinth raised under the shades of such trees as the sulphi, mahua, mango etc and it is (shila) and / or the wooden post (kham) and /or carved stone image are placed to represent the presiding deity of the shrine. There may also be other small and uneven stones to represent the consort of the deity as well as other attendants.

Thusu, K.N., and Jha, M.,"The Ollar Gadaba of Koraput",Anthropological Survey of India. Calcutta Memoir No. 27,1969
In the village of Gadaba tribals the shrine called Jhakir vendit (deity) is situated towards the northwest of the main habitation area of the village, close to a perennial hill stream. The shrine is located in an open, unoccupied piece of land, in the midst of stones or boulders, and surrounded by thick bushes or trees. The sacred objects are kept hidden in the hollow formed by stones under the shadow of trees, as also as the surrounding area, remains unkept and unattended. The Ganga shrine lies hidden amidst the thick bushes and the creeping plants, directly under the Ganta tree. The sacred objects consisting of earthen vessels are kept in a cavity under a flat stone, being blocked by another stone in such a manner as to give the appearance of a natural rock formation.

Tiwari, B.K., Barik, S.K., and Tripathi, R.S.,"Sacred Forests of Meghalaya",Biological and Cultural Diversity,Regional Centre, National Afforestation and Ecodevelopment Board, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong,1999
Protecting the patches of forests on religious grounds is an age-old practice in Meghalaya. In the older days almost all the villages in Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills had well-preserved sacred forests in the vicinity of the village habitations. In spite of remarkable changes that have taken place in socio-cultural, religious and economic spheres of the people over the past few decades, these forests have been able to withstand the anthropogenic pressure and number of them are still found in good condition throughout the state. Based on the ownership pattern and management control and the tribe that preserves them, these forests (sacred groves), are locally known as Law Kyntang, Law Niam and Law Lyngdoh in Khasi Hills, Khloo Blai in Jaintia Hills and Asheng Khosi in Garo Hills. The book based on a study conducted in 1994-95 has four chapters and information on 79 sacred forests covering an area of about 12,000 ha. The book discusses the present status of sacred forests and suggests strategies for their conservation in the state.

Tiwari, B.K., Barik, S.K., and Tripathi, R.S.,"Sacred groves of Meghalaya",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara U.M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 253-263,1998
In this article the authors provide a review of the literature available on sacred groves of Meghalaya, as well as results of their own study of 79 sacred groves. The aspects covered in this paper are: status of sacred groves (estimated area under sacred groves is 10,251 ha; the size of groves varies from 0.01 ha to 900 ha; only 12.5% (n=56) had 100% canopy cover and 42.5% had open canopy); ecosystem services of sacred groves (a majority located on catchment area of major rivers); conservation of biodiversity (at least 50 rare and endangered plant species of Meghalaya are confined to these groves; 514 species of 340 genera of 131 families are found in the groves, the species diversity being higher is groves than other forests); socio-cultural aspects; rituals; erosion of traditional beliefs; and conservation strategy for the groves.

Tiwari, B.K., Barik, S.K., and Tripathi, R.S.,"Biodiversity value, status and strategies for conservation of sacred groves of Meghalaya, India",Ecosystem Health, 4 : 20-32,1998
The tribal communities of Meghalaya - Khasis, Garos, and Jaintias - have a tradition of environmental conservation based on religious beliefs. Certain patches are designated as sacred groves under customary law. The authors studied 79 sacred groves for their biodiversity value. The floristic survey revealed that at least 514 species representing 34.0% had dense forest, 26.3% had sparse canopy, and 30.3% had open forest. Based on the findings, the authors have suggested conservation strategies for the groves.

Tiwari, S.K., P.K.Shukla and Amit Pandey,"Role of Sacred Groves in Biodiversity Conservation",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
India has long tradition of product use and wise conservation of all resources that are useful to people. Forests have been the lifelines for trebles and other forest-dwelling communities since ages. Fore conservation of this green resource, the concept of sacred groves was generally used. In fact, the practice of dedicating groves to local deities has a long history. They are the ancient natural sanctuaries where all from of living creatures are given protection by a deity. These are the ancient natural sanctuaries where all forms of living creatures are given protection by a deity. These sacred groves have been a traditional means of biodiversity conservation. No one is permitted to cut any tree or plant, kill animals and birds, or their surroundings. They often weaved themselves into the tapestry of life surroundings them so exquisitely that we can only admire their sensitivity and their wisdom. They had a very special understanding of the place, the local genius of their territory. Sacred groves have not only survived but have also contributed to the preservation of tropical biological diversity. We are still discovering new species of plants from sacred groves, which have disappeared from everywhere else. The sacred groves are considered as the global hot spots of medicinal plants, a significant 10% more than the reserved forests, where 60% of the regenerating species have medicinal values. The sacred groves have not only conserved useful species, but also helped promote Indias age-old, traditional medicinal systems, which are fast gaining acceptance across the globe. This paper deals with the general conservational aspects of sacred groves.

Tripathi, O.P., K. Upadhaya, R.S. Tripathi and H.N. Pandey,Diversity, Dominance and Population Structure of Tree Species along Fragment-Size Gradient of a Subtropical Humid Forest of Northeast India, Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences 2(2): 97-105, 2010. ,
The present study was carried out in forest fragments of 1, 2, 5 and >5-ha of a subtropical humid forest in Meghalaya, northeast India to analyze the impact of fragment size on tree diversity and population structure and regeneration status of important trees. The intensity of disturbance steadily decreases with increase in size of the fragment. The study revealed that tree species richness increased from 49 species in 1-ha fragment to 64 species in >5-ha fragment. Tree species richness was positively related to fragment size, but was inversely related to the degree of disturbance. Impact of fragment size on density and basal cover did not differ much between the fragments. Diversity and dominance indices did not varied much along the fragment sizegradient. Out of ten most dominant species, dominance of four species decreased along increasing size gradient while dominance of remaining species consistently decreased from 1-ha to >5-ha fragments. Overall tree population structure was pyramid shaped in all the fragments. About 16-25% species showed good regeneration in all the fragments. Percentage of species showing fair, poor and no regeneration progressively increases with increase in size of the fragments. Large percentages (44%) of new species were found regenerating in small fragments compared to large fragments where only 3 new species were regenerating. This revealed that fragments of smaller area might have given a favourable micro-environmental condition for seedling survival.

Tripathi, R.S.,"Sacred groves: Community biodiversity conservation model in north-east India",In Ganeshaiah, K.N., Shaanker, R.U., & Bawa, K.S., (eds), Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare (Supplement), Proceedings of the International Conference Tropical Ecosystems, ATREE, Bangalore, pp. 104-107,2001
The populations of several tree species in the sacred grove at Mawphlang comprise relatively higher population of older trees compared to their saplings and seedlings, which is attributable to the poor regeneration of these trees due to increased shade caused by the dense canopy of the sacred grove. The regeneration in the well-protected sacred groves occurs mostly in the gaps created due to natural tree fall. If the religious beliefs associated with the sacred groves, and traditional wisdom contributing to forest protection could be suitably integrated with the modern scientific forest management practices, these sacred groves could become useful model for biodiversity conservation in the region.

Unnikrishnan, V.,"Sacred Groves of North Kerala: An eco-folklore study",(in Malayalam), Jeevarekha, Thrissur,1995
The sacred groves of Kerala are known as Kavus. A Kavu basically is a patch of evergreen vegetation, which shelter several rare species of plants and animals. Kavus form an integral part of the declining culture of Kerala. The concept of Kavus is rooted in fertile worldview of the early cultures of Kerala. But as the cavalcades of Aryan culture rushed through this land, the Kavus and their associated culture waned. The sacred forests of Kerala are on verge of decimation. Kavus are of different kinds. Kavus of northern Kerala are associated with about 400 theyyams - traditional religious art of the region. Folklores, traditional practices, faiths, and knowledge systems protected Kavus through ages. The destruction of Kavus signify decline of culture.

Untawale, A.G., Wafar, S., and Wafar, M.,"Sacred mangroves in India",In: Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G., & Chandrashekara, U. M., (eds.), Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 247-252,1998
In this paper the author provide descriptions of some sacred groves / sites with mangrove vegetation. The sacred groves described are: Shravan-Kavadia located in the Banni region of Great Rann of Kutch with trees more than 100 years old, Pirotan island with a `darga'; Khodiyar mata in also in Kutch (there used to be crocodiles in the mangroves swamp around the temple) and the Achra mangrove in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra belongs to temple trust of Shri Rameshwar.

Upadhye, A.S., Kumbhojkar, M.S., and Vartak, V.D.,"Note on magnificent Tinospora sinensis (Lour) Merrill in sacred groves of Pune district",The Indian Forester , 113(2): 154-157,1987
The authors in this paper report results of a study they conducted on Tinospora sinensis (Lour.) Merill, a liana in 9 sacred groves of Pune district in Maharashtra. The climber has several uses including medicinal. The authors observed a magnificent specimen of this species in the Dakhane sacred grove in Mulshi taluk of Pune district. The height of the climber was more than 20 meters, and recommended that the specimen should be accorded full protection and be declared as a natural national monument.

Utkarsh, G.,"Sacred Groves and the Biodiversity Conservation Priorities: A Case Study from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra State, India",National Symposium on the Biodiversity and Conservation of the Sacred Groves, Hyderabad,1996
In the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, the sacred groves are assessed for their conservation priorities. A system to integrate conservation of the sacred groves and economic utilization of the genetic resources has been outlined.

Vanucci, M.,"Sacred Groves or Holy Forests",In. Concept of Space: Ancient and Modern, pp. 323 – 332, New Delhi,1993
Sacred forests are revered wherever Hinduism is practiced. The concept of sacred forests does not belong to the migrating Dravidians or Aryans, but would have taken root in the innermost core of sedentary man.

Vartak, V.D.,"Observations on rare imperfectly known and endemic plants in the sacred groves of Western Maharashtra",In : Jain, S.K., & Rao, R.R., (eds.), Assessment of Threatened Plants in India, Botanical Survey of India. Calcutta, pp. 169-178,1983
The climax type of vegetation in the sacred groves exhibits diversity in species of trees and other various life forms dependent for their very existence on trees, huge climbers, epiphytes and other shade loving plants. With the felling of the forest all around the sacred grove, these have become the last refuge for many plant species requiring special habitat preference. Present article includes enumeration of 38 species of endangered endemic plant species from 12 selected sacred groves along the Western Ghats.

Vartak, V.D.,"Sacred Groves for in situ conservation",In: Jain, S.K., (ed.), Ethnobiology in Human Welfare, Deep Publications, New Delhi, pp. 300-302,1996
Nature conservation is very ancient in India. Useful animal and plant species have much reverence in Hindu culture. Cutting plants or harassing animals is considered a taboo. Forest pockets preserved on religious grounds are known as sacred groves or Deorai. These forest pockets show optimum growth of vegetation and perhaps could be the last refuge for many species. Efforts should be made to protect these unique habitat locations by declaring them as national monuments. The paper presents pros and cons of the endeavour.

Vartak, V.D., and Gadgil, M.,"Relic forest pockets of Panshet water catchment area, Poona district, Maharashtra state",Biovigyanam, 7: 145-148,1981
The sacred groves named after the Goddess Janni, situated along the eastern slopes of low lying hills of Western Ghats near Mangaon village, Poona District, (18° 33' N. and 30° 50' E.) covers an area of 16 ha. Heavy rainfall in the area resulted in considerable soil erosion as forest areas have been greatly disturbed by ruthless removal of trees. However, the scattered patches of such forest relics provide an index of the pre-existing vegetation and may also serve as a guideline for afforestation programme.

Vartak, V.D., and Gadgil, M.,"Studies on sacred groves along the Western Ghats from Maharashtra and Goa: Role of beliefs and folklores",In: Jain, S.K., (ed.), Glimpses of Indian Ethnobotany, Oxford University Press, Bombay, pp. 272-278,1981
Sacred groves are more or less pockets of climax vegetation preserved on religious grounds. Several such pockets are located in remote tribal areas along the Western Ghats in India. These forest patches preserved on religious grounds are the true indicators of the type of vegetation that once existed along these hilly terrains, long before the dawn of modern civilisation. The existence of such undisturbed pockets is mostly due to certain taboos, strong beliefs, supplemented by mystic folklores. Due to the advent of modern civilisation in these remote areas, life and culture of the aboriginals are gradually changing to the urban pattern. Consequently many of the beliefs, folklores are being ignored and are likely to be forgotten in the near future. Inconsiderate and self-centered urban folk have already started exploiting these sacred forests. The paper presents some folklores and traditional beliefs about sacred groves recorded near Mangaon village situated in the hilly region of Poona District, Maharashtra State.

Vartak, V.D., Kumbhojkar, M.S., and Dabadghao,V.,"Sacred groves - A sanctuary for lofty trees and lianas",Proceedings : Seminar on Ecodevelopment of Western Ghats, pp. 55-59,1986
Forest pockets preserved on religious grounds are known as 'sacred groves' or 'Dev-rai'. They usually show optimum growth of the vegetation relevant to local terrain and climate. Plants in the sacred groves often exhibit great vigour and magnificence and add grandeur to the locality. Efforts should be made to protect these unique plant entities by declaring them as national monuments. Twenty five such plant species are described here.

Vartak, V.D., Kumbhojkar, M.S., and Nipunage, D.S.,"Sacred groves of tribal areas along the Western Ghats: Treasure trove of medicinal plants",B.M.E.B.R., III(1-2):77-84,1987
The villagers and tribes of the Western Ghats have religious beliefs and respect for sacred groves. Indians are accustomed to dedicate forest pockets to various deities and various components of vegetation are supposed to be under the protection of the local deity of that forest grove. Such dedicated practices have led to preservation and conservation of forests and forest products. These sacred groves are living museums of plants and other natural resources. These groves supply fresh medicinal plants to villagers.

Vasudeva, R., K.T.Boraiah and S. K. Patil,"Conservation Value of Sacred Groves of Karnataka",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves, the patches of forests traditionally preserved and monitored through social institutions, act as functional links between social life and ecological system of a region. Here are very few assessments of regeneration in the traditionally conserved sacred landscape in comparison to large vast of sate-owned, formally conserved forest patches. We assessed the regeneration in sacred groves to compare the same with nearby reserve forests (control) at five localities in Kodagu, Karnataka, and South India. Kodagu id considered as the global hot spot for sacred groves as over 1200 sacred are reported from this tiny district. Sacred groves were categorized as conserved sacred grove and disturbed sacred grove based on five disturbance parameters. In each of the forest type, five regeneration plots of the size 2.5m x 10m were laid in randomly selected permanent transects of 5m widths and a maximum of 100m lengths. We developed a new index called Regeneration Value Index (RVI) by considering the richness and density of special species viz. threatened; endemic; medicinal and evergreen to assess the regeneration value. Conserved sacred groves showed a highest mean combined RVI (138.8.+27.2); while disturbed sacred groves recorded least mean combined RVI (119.6+15.3) the reserve forests were intermediate (122.4+27.2). The differences among landscape were more drastic considering RVI for species richness (79.7+13.4 for reserve forest; 83.5+6.2 and 73.0+3.3, respectively for conserved and disturbed sacred groves). Results also suggest that considering combined RVI, among top ten ranks, there were four conserved sacred groves and four reserve forests suggesting a higher regeneration value. Clearly, all disturbed sacred groves had lower RVI. Perhaps increase in deciduous species among disturbed sacred groves might reduce its value. Our study strongly supports the traditional methods of conservation at least in terms of regenerations value. However, the study also points out that these traditionally conserved patches are highly susceptible for anthropogenic disturbance.

Vatsyayan, K.,"Ecology and Indian Myth",Indigenous Vision Peoples of India Attitudes to the Environment, New Delhi,1992
The Indian mythology is strongly linked with ecology. Mythology has also played a key role in conservation of nature and natural resources.

Venkaiah, M., Lakshminarayana, K., Rao, P.S., and Rao, M.U.,"Rare and Interesting Plants from the Sacred Groves of Northern Districts of Andhra Pradesh",In: Abstracts of seminar on Sacred Groves of India – Their Biodiversity Conservation, Hyderabad April 21,1996
The sacred groves of Northern districts of Andhra Pradesh harbour a wide range of rare and interesting plants. These sacred groves are the ancient natural sanctuaries and a ‘treasure trove’ for the naturalists supporting many species of plants and animals.

Venkatachalam, S., T. Kalaiselvi and P.Ratha Krishnan,"Sacred Grooves Conservation is Imperative",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Patches of forest and several tree species are protected and managed by many traditional societies all over the world for their social, cultural, ecological, economical and historical values. These patches of forest, designed as sacred groves, constitute natural or near-natural vegetation dedicated by local communities to their ancestral spirits or deities. Tree of different species have special associations with particular deities like Sal (Shorea robusa) and papal (Ficus benghalensis) to Lord Vishnu; kadamba (Anthocephalus cadamba) to Lord Krishna and mango (Mangifera indica) to Lord Hanuman Sacred groves are important reservoirs of biodiversity, preserving unique species of plants, insects, and animals. Rees in groves provide habitat and food for many species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals that helps to control pest population in the agro ecosystem, promote regeneration of tree species by propagating seeds, facilitate cross pollination of many plant species. Thus sacred groves play a dynamic role in balancing the ecosystem including the agro ecosystem of the region. Many sacred groves in India are associated with ponds, streams, springs or rivers and act as micro watersheds that help to drought problems and increase agricultural productivity. At present sacred groves in India are threatened due to increase in population pressure, removal of biomass, encroachment, introduction of exotics resulting in genetic erosion of indigenous species, pollution, poaching application of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers commercial exploitation of resources, increase in livestock pressure etc. To maintain the functions, values and attributes of sacred grooves an effective conservation and management practices are needed. Meeting the biomass requirements of the village people through social forestry programmes, development of broad sacred grooves database through research, restoration of Degraded sacred grooves by involving the local people, standardization of nursery practices for the indigenous species will help to conserve the sacred grooves.

Vidyarthi, L.P.,"The Maler",Bookland Pvt Ltd., Calcutta,1963
Manjhi Than is the sacred place of Maler tribal village. A very long bamboo with a piece of triangular red cloth on it symbolises the place of village deity, Jhanda-gossaiyan. The grove also has several deities like Singpate Nadu, gossaiyan of the village, Gram Devati. Other deities like Raksinadu, Kanhaiye Nadu, Bender Nadu, Muri Gossaiyan are placed in respective sacred groves. The Manjhiye performs all the religious functions concerning the village.

Vidyasagaran, K., D.Abhilash and L.C. Babu,"Plant diversity and Conservation of Kalasamala Sacred Grove of Thrissur District, Kerala",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Kalasamala is a hillock situated in the Parambadam Gramma Panchayat, which is very close to Kunnamkulam town of Thrissur District. The Northern slope of the hillock is covered by a highly specialized fresh water swamp ecosystem, which is being protected and managed by Kalasamala temple committee. The area is inundated during rainy season and consisted with very high moisture content during the summer months. The plants in the ecosystem are highly adapted to the adverse edaphic conditions. The formation of knee roots and pnuematophores are very characteristics of many species. The floristic diversity indicates the dominance of Syzygium mundagam followed by Eugenia thwaieii, Holigarna beddomei and Alstonia scholaris. This rare ecosystem is being threatened by uncontrolled inflow of visitors and soil excavation works on the upper part of the hill. A Malaysia bases road Construction Company, which has recently established their infrastructure on the drainage basin of this ecosystem also, contributes to further degradation of Kalasamala.

Viji, C.,"The Sacred Groves",The Hindu,1995
Sacred groves have a unique place in the fabric of the Hindu religion. They are deemed inviolate so as to preserve the ecological balance of the area. These groves were established in ancient times due to man’s innate reverence for nature with special significance to the worship of selected trees.

Wachtel, P.S.,"Asia’s Sacred Groves",International Wildlife, pp. 24 – 27,1993
There are thousands of sacred groves spread across Asia and protected by people who live there. As far as India is concerned they represent the most important ecological heritage of ancient culture and offer a valid conservation option.

World Wide Fund for Nature - Andhra Pradesh,"Sacred and Protected Groves of Andhra Pradesh",WWF-AP State office, Andhra Pradesh,1996
Extensive documentation has been done by WWF - AP state office of sacred and protected groves of Andhra Pradesh (1996). More than 750 sacred elements from 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh have been recorded {Adilabad (2), Anantapur (73), Chittor (133), Cuddapah (76), East Godavari (10), Guntur (17), Hyderabad (13), Karimnagar (4), Khammam (4), Krishna (12), Kurnool (115), Mahabubnagar (9), Medak (4), Nalgonda (9), Nellore (87), Nizamabad (7), Prakasam (59), Ranga Reddy (10), Srikakulam (30), Vishakhapatnam (30), Vizianagaram (32), Warangal (3), West Godavari (17)}

Xaxa, V.,"Orans: Religion, Customs and Environment",Indigenous Vision Peoples of India Attitudes to the Environment, pp.100-109, New Delhi,1992
The Orans, the fourth largest tribal group in India. Their social life is inextricably linked with nature.

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