Sacred Groves in Peri-Urban Areas: An Opportunity for Resilient Urban Ecosystems

2017 International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering  
This paper examines the significance of conserving sacred groves in maintaining the resilience of urban systems. Peri-urban areas that house natural or semi natural ecosystems provide supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. The resilience of these systems has an immense impact on the adjacent urban and rural areas. The landscape of India is dotted with sacred groves, large and small. These are remnants of the original forest vegetation that were conserved through
more » ... ltural practices of ancient nature worshipping societies. Cultural homogenization and the demand for real estate have caused the disappearance of sacred groves at an alarming rate. Within the metropolises of India, these sacred groves remain only as shrines, with no forest vegetation cover whatsoever. Peri-urban areas and rural areas support the remaining sacred groves. This study examines the geographical location of sacred groves with respect to topography generated stream network patterns. The general curvature of the sanctum of sacred groves was calculated. Sacred groves are located in regions where stream flow originates, or in head water regions. The curvature values of these locations indicate surface flow accumulation characteristics. Significance of head water accumulation regions in maintaining the overall health of the watershed is well understood. Thus, sacred groves in peri-urban and rural areas present a unique opportunity in maintaining the resilience of these systems. Systematic conservation of sacred groves will result in a network of accumulation areas under forest cover in urban areas. This study highlights the urgent need to document and map sacred groves, and make this available to policy makers and planners to support informed ecological planning decision-making.
doi:10.21276/ijee.2017.10.0111 fatcat:y4yxu7emerhzjkewu7sx5i7vmi