Groves & Conservation
Sacred groves are forests or natural spaces protected by human communities who believe that preserving them in an undisturbed state expresses our unique relationship with the divine, or with nature.
Historically, such groves were found in some form or other across the world—from ancient Greece and the Middle East to the Americas. Today they are most prominent in places like India, Japan and West Africa.
In India, groves can be found across the country—amidst the grasslands of Meghalaya, hill slopes of the Himalayas, central Indian plains, Rajasthani deserts, coasts of Kerala, and agricultural landscapes of West Bengal and Karnataka. Most groves in India have pre-Vedic origins and are often associated with indigenous communities. They come in all sizes, some covering acres and acres of land while others are just small patches nurtured by a single family. Often, they serve as havens for animals and plants in landscapes subjected to deforestation.
recorded all over India
Forest on Stilts:
A Personal Essay
by Conservationist Malhar Indulkar
Different communities have varied conventions used to protect these groves, such as prohibiting visitors from removing anything, even dead leaves and branches. Some allow people to take fruit and seeds fallen on the forest floor, while others permit limited extraction for non-commercial use.
Protecting Myristica Swamps & Wetlands
Myristica Swamps are often found within sacred groves, indicating that local communities have always understood their special importance. Wetlands in general, and Myristica swamps in particular, provide multiple services to local communities and the larger ecosystem.
The web-like structure of stilt tree roots prevents soil erosion, facilitates groundwater recharge, and reduces flooding in downstream villages. Water filtered by the swamp is used by communities for household consumption.
Local communities have noticed that swamps have cooler temperatures year-round compared to other habitat types.
The fruit of the Magnificent nutmeg and Kanara nutmeg are collected by local communities and eaten by various fruit-eating species of wildlife, including monkeys, hornbills, and squirrels.
Match the following Indian states to the names they use for ‘sacred grove’.