Keywords: KEY WORDS, Sacred groves, Ecosystem services, Maharashtra State.


Forest  preserved  on  religious  grounds  is  known  as  Deorai  or  Deo  rahati  or
Sacred  grove.  It  is  a  traditional  heritage  of  nature  conservation  in  Indian
culture and civilization. Generally, sacred groves are classified into different
forest  types  and  they  preserve  climax  vegetation.  These  sacred  groves  are  
conserved  with varied degree of ecological and socio-cultural dimensions.  It
may  be  noted  that  even  as  the  social  changes  occur,  the  rejuvenation  of  
cultural  heritage –one of the important ecosystem services of  sacred groves,
can act to support the conservation and restoration of groves. It may also be
pointed out that  cultural heritage and forest vegetation are complementary to
each  other  in  determining    ecosystem  health  of    community  –based  bio-
diversity  conservation  institutions  like  sacred  groves.  Imbalance  of  these
components  can severely affect all   other  ecosystem services.    
Present  ecosystem  service are directly or indirectly responsible for regulating
floods,  purifying  water,  maintaining  the    temperature,  botanical  garden  for
students  and  plant  lovers,  bank  of    wild    relatives  of    cultivated    plants,
treasure  trove  of    wild  medicinal  and  edible  plants,  shelter  for  birds  and
insects,  areas    of    regional  environmental    studies,  house  of    microbes  and
fungi, etc.  Biological processes  occurred in sacred groves are  responsible for
recycling nutrients, soil formation and providing the supporting services to the
human societies.  
Experience  of  Floristic  studies  on  sacred  groves  in  Western  Ghats  of  
Maharashtra and efforts of  eco-restoration  in selected  sacred groves from  
Maharashtra are presented in the paper.

KEY WORDS : Sacred groves, Ecosystem services, Maharashtra  State.


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