Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Role of sacred groves in biodiversity conservation in Bankura district of West Bengal.

Abstract

A series of investigations were carried out in 43 sacred groves of the tribal of rich areas in the district of Bankura of West Bengal during the years of 2006-2008. 139 plant species were recorded, dicots were 124, monocots 12. Among them, species of trees were 72, shrubs 16, herbs 33, lianas 4, climbers 13, epiphytes 1. Sacred groves totally cover an area of 10.77 hectare. Tribals met with are 'Santals' and 'Koramudis'; other tribals communities are 'Bedias' and 'Mahalis'. The dominant tree species are Shorea robusta, which have 65% occurrence, average height within 12.19 to 19.81 m and girth within 2.13 to 3.65 m. Co-dominant tree species were Butea monosperma, Madhuca longifolia, Streblus asper, Alangium salvifolium and Diospyros melanoxylon. The dominant family in the study area is Combretaceae with 7 species. But the family Dipterocarpaceae has maximum number of individuals 252. Papilionaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae also have good representation. These groves are a good resource of 35 ethnomedicinal plants, of which, Andrographis paniculata, Asparagus racemosus, Holarrhena pubescens, Celastrus paniculatus, Smilax ovalifolia, Vanda tessellata are abundant. Diversity index of the woody species is found to be 0.99. Importance Value Index (IVI) of Shorea robusta is 38.94. At present, religious proscription of the tribes has weakened. Old plants have become devastated by termite, fungus, thunder-stroke, unforeseen fatal calamity and even by soil erosion. Invasion of exotic weeds like Eupatorium odoratum, Lantana camara and Parthenium hysterophorus has become an ecological problem. Sacred groves still present in the district of Bankura are the repositories of biological diversity and genetic resources. To protect this biodiversity and its practical implementation, a joint endeavor will be expected from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the ethnic groups associated therein.