The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently released a book, Conserving the sacred for biodiversity management, which underlines the importance of sacred groves and their role in biodiversity conservation. Edited by P S Ramakrishnan, K G Saxena and U M Chandrashekhara, the book has been written by more than 15 experts from all over India.
Sacred groves are ecosystems conserved by traditional societies. Says P S Ramakrishnan, a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi: "A balanced approach to ecological management is the need of the hour. The sacred grove concept, extending from a species to a landscape, can show the way".
Apart from analysing sacred groves from a religious or cultural concept, the book examines their social, cultural and ecological concept. The book consists of case studies from India, the Mediterranean region, Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Mongolia. "This book can disseminate information right till the grassroots level," says Moegiadt, director, UNESCO, New Delhi.