Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 289–299 | Cite as

Woody species diversity of four sacred groves in the Pondicherry region of South India

  • M.P. Ramanujam
  • K. Praveen Kumar Cyril


Plant wealth and diversity of four sacred groves – twoanthropogenic stands and two natural forest patches – along the southeastcoast of India adjoining Pondicherry was studied. A total of 111species, belonging to 103 genera in 53 families, were recorded from thefour sites, which together measure 15.6 ha. The number of woody species (girth at breast height(gbh) ≤20 cm) was 20 each in Keezbuvanagiri (KBG) andKilialamman (KLM) grove, followed by 13 in Periyakattupalayam (PKP) and 15in Periyamudaliar chavadi (PMC). Based on the important value index (IVI), PMCgrove is an association of Aglaia elaeagnoidea,Borassus flabellifer and Pterospermumsuberifolium. A two-layered forest structure resembling tropical dryevergreen forest (TDEF) was found there. Stratification was obscured in the KBGgrove, as the scrub species were abundant, indicating a scrub woodland formation.PKP and KLM were characterised by the abundance of a few species. The presenceof a stout liana of Secamone emetica (gbh 35cm), the robustness of Cretaeva magna (gbh 220cm), Syzigium cumini (gbh 207.45cm), P. suberifolium (gbh 128.7cm) and Tamarindus indica (gbh 250cm), and survival of evergreen species like A.elaeagnoidea and Pamburus missionis isbotanically significant; Polyalthia suberosa is a raretaxon found only within the groves. The persistence of the groves until thepresent time is a testimony to the sacred grove status enjoyed by them.

Floristic diversity India Sacred groves Scrub woodland Tropical dry evergreen forest 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botany Laboratory Centre for Post-graduate StudiesIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyAvvaiyar Government College for WomenKaraikalIndia

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