Drypetes porteri, a highly endangered species found in tropical dry evergreen forests (TDEF) near Gingee in Villupuram district. | Photo Credit: There are 163 sacred groves on the Marakkanam-Puducherry-Cuddalore stretch For centuries, ‘Kovil Kaadugal’ or sacred groves were looked after and maintained by the local communities residing there, who made use of the age-old traditions and knowledge to conserve them. However, many sacred groves in the northern region are now fast deteriorating due to rapid urbanisation and land scarcity. Now, a "non-profit" organisation, Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF), has come up with an eco-restoration initiative in a bid to conserve these green patches of land. According to Environmental Information System (ENVIS), Puducherry, there are 163 sacred groves on the Marakkanam-Puducherry-Cuddalore stretch. A study on 15 samples out of 163 groves reported 252 plant species belonging to 176 genera, 62 families, 136 taxa and six lianas. The groves were such diverse and host species of some of the last remaining repositories of critically endangered TDEF. IBF has identified 88 rare, endemic and near threatened plant species found in TDEF for conservation as part of ‘Uyir Moochu’ initiative. The unique eco-restoration initiative will focus on recovery and conservation of these plant species […]

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