Initiative to conserve sacred groves
For centuries, ‘Kovil Kaadugal’ or sacred groves had been sorted and maintained by the native communities residing there, who made use of the age-old traditions and data to conserve them.
However, many sacred groves within the northern area are actually quick deteriorating due to fast urbanisation and land shortage. Now, a “non-profit” organisation, Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF), has provide you with an eco-restoration initiative in a bid to conserve these inexperienced patches of land.
According to Environmental Information System (ENVIS), Puducherry, there are 163 sacred groves on the Marakkanam-Puducherry-Cuddalore stretch. A research on 15 samples out of 163 groves reported 252 plant species belonging to 176 genera, 62 households, 136 taxa and 6 lianas.
The groves had been such various and host species of a number of the final remaining repositories of critically endangered TDEF. IBF has recognized 88 uncommon, endemic and close to threatened plant species present in TDEF for conservation as a part of ‘Uyir Moochu’initiative.
The distinctive eco-restoration initiative will deal with restoration and conservation of those plant species in biodiversity hotspots in TDEF, the second most endangered forests subsequent solely to mangroves.
K. Raman, founding father of IBF stated that although most of those plant species had been discovered solely within the wild and in fringes of forest patches, they’ve been displaced and brought over by invasive species. “Volunteers from IBF along with Sekar, a traditional seed collector from Auroville have gathered seeds of rare, endemic and near-threatened native species found in sacred groves on the stretch from Puducherry to Ramanathapuram. The plants grown in nurseries will be introduced in to their natural habitat and areas with decreased count,” he stated.
‘Protected’ by Ayyanar
Earlier, a number of sacred groves on the Puducherry-Cuddalore stretch housed a couple of deities particularly Ayyanar revered by the native communities. The groves remained untouched due to spiritual beliefs and had a number of plant and animal species. But they’ve now been razed and changed with concrete constructions, he stated.
“Our main objective is to strengthen the bond that the local communities shared with the sacred groves. We will be educating the locals on the importance of these groves and ensure their involvement in the conservation plan to protect the remaining patches,” says Mr. Raman.
“IBF has already raised different species and they are now in high demand. The Malai Poovarasu is one such endemic species and there are less than 500 species in the wild.”
“These rare and endangered plant species found in sacred groves harbour rich biodiversity and are rich repositories of valuable medicinal plants. The groves also support a wide variety of birds and small mammals including the Palm Civet, Slender Loris and the Rusty Spotted Cat, the world’s smallest car,” says S. Vimalraj, a naturalist.
The groves act as an efficient carbon sink and are additionally self-sustainable ecosystem, which reinforce scientific causes for conservation, says Prabhu N. Ponmudi, member of Uyir Moochu initiative.
The Department of Forests may additionally take up planting of those uncommon species on the coastal belt from Cuddalore to Ramanathapuram. This wouldn’t solely guarantee safety but in addition improve the biodiversity of the groves, Mr. Vimalraj provides.