|Town/Region||Uttara Kannada, Karnataka|
|Date||7 Sep 2010|
Sacred groves being relics of natural climax vegetation in any region, harbouring a good number of diverse life forms due to the favourable microclimate conditions and restrictions in resource usage. Sacred grove tradition, with its underlying principle of community based natural resource conservation, is an integral part of socio-religious fabrics of indigenous communities of Western Ghats. Consequent to weakening hold of communities over forest resources, changes in their religious outlook, and rising pressures for land and resources, the sacred grove tradition has been on the decline. Their shrinkage in size and canopy openings particularly affects the more sensitive endemic plant species and fauna.
The ecosystem services rendered by the groves are on the decline. Endemic plants often act as indicators for status of biodiversity and good endemic areas are prioritised in conservation programs. The grove provides shelter for a good number of endemic species, sensitive to spatio-temporal changes, and vanished from elsewhere in the local landscape. However, present day disturbances on the groves (eg. area shrinkage, alien species invasion and degradation of microclimate) create uncertainty for future of these endemic plant populations. Assessment of endemic plant population and their regeneration status in sacred groves would enable us to initiate conservation programmes to strengthen the role of groves as local centres of threatened biodiversity along with associated ecological functions. More light will be thrown on linkages between the spatial distribution of groves in domesticated landscape and their ability to act as centres and sources of threatened endemic plants.
The programme would as well strengthen renewed participation of local communities in conservation and management of local biodiversity and restore the varied ecosystem services of the sacred groves.
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