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Floral Diversity Conservation through Sacred Groves in Koraput District, Odisha, India: A Case Study

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation of Natural Resources, Central University of Orissa, Koraput-764 020, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 3, Issue (9), Pages 80-86, September,22 (2014)

Abstract

The tribal dominated Koraput district of Odisha has rich tradition of nature conservation through cultural and religious practices. Though maximum number of sacred groves has been reported from Koraput, there is hardly any scientific documentation of plant species in them. The present study has documented floral diversity and uses of 94 sacred plant species distributed in 63 genera belonging to 43 different families from 6 different sacred groves in a systematic manner. Most of the plant species are distributed under Caesalpiniaceae followed by Asteraceae and Combretaceae. The plant species are distributed in 48 trees, 26 shrubs and 21 herbs. Many of the plant species are used as herbal medicines (39%) by the tribals followed by religious importance (23 %), and food (13 %) plants. Some existing threats related to the sacred groves as well as plants under threat categories have also been recorded. While only plant species Pterocarpus santalinus comes under IUCN endangered category and 3 species of plants Shorea robusta, Buchanania lanzan and Woodfordia fruticosa comes under low risk and least concern categories whereas 6 species are under least concern category. The plants under vulnerable categories are Ageratum conyzoides, Dalbergia latifolia, Delonix regia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Santalum album and Saraca asoca. Thus, for assessing the ecological role of sacred grooves and formulating strategies for their conservation, a holistic understanding of their structure and function as well as their current status is essential.

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