Hydrological importance of sacred forest fragments in Central Western Ghats of India
Rajashri Ray *                M D S Chandran                Ramachandra T V
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Center for Ecological Sciences [CES], Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 012, India
*Corresponding author:
Citation : Rajashhri Ray, M D Subhash Chandran, Ramachandra. T.V, Hydrological importance of sacred forest fragments in Central Western Ghats of India, Tropical Ecology, Volume 56(1) 2014, 87-99 pages.
Keywords : Ecosystem service; Native forest; Sacred grove; Water conservation; Watershed.
Publisher :International Society for Tropical Ecology


Sacred groves are patches of forests of special spiritual significance to humans, offering also a diverse range of ecological and environmental services. We have attempted here to understand the local hydrological dynamics of a sacred forest, in terms of the benefits the village community derive, in central Western Ghats region of India. A comparative assessment has been made between two small watersheds in terms of their landscape structure (woody species composition) with soil water properties and availability of water in the respective downstream villages. The result shows that, sacred site with more primeval vegetation has close association with soil moisture in comparison to non-sacred site during dry spell of the year. The higher soil moisture ensures year long availability of water in the downstream village of the sacred site which facilitates farming of commercial crops with higher economic returns to the farmers, unlike the farmers in the other village where they face water crisis during the lean season. The study emphasizes the need for conservation endeavour on sacred groves highlighting its potential for water conservation at local and regional levels.

* Corresponding Author :
  Rajasri Ray
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, India.
Tel : 91-80-22933504 (Extn:116)
Fax : 91-080-23601428 (attn: Rajasri)
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