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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 187-197

Analysis of Local Attitudes Toward the Sacred Groves of Meghalaya and Karnataka, India


Department of Environmental Studies, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Alison Ormsby
Department of Environmental Studies, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.115722

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The sacred groves of India represent a long-held tradition of community management of forests for cultural reasons. This study used social science research methods in the states of Meghalaya and Karnataka to determine local attitudes toward the sacred groves, elements of sacred grove management including restrictions on resource use, as well as ceremonies associated with sacred groves. Over a seven-month period, 156 interviews were conducted in 17 communities. Residents identified existing taboos on use of natural resources in the sacred groves, consequences of breaking the taboos, and the frequency and types of rituals associated with the sacred groves. Results show that numerous factors contribute to pressures on sacred groves, including cultural change and natural resource demands. In Meghalaya, the frequency of rituals conducted in association with the sacred groves is declining. In both Meghalaya and Karnataka, there is economic pressure to extract resources from sacred groves or to reduce the sacred grove size, particularly for coffee production in Kodagu in Karnataka. Support for traditional ceremonies, existing local community resource management, and comprehensive education programs associated with the sacred groves is recommended.


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