Title: Cultural and Ecological Dimensions of Sacred Groves in India                                                        

Abstract: In India, as elsewhere in different parts of the world, a number of communities practice different forms of nature worship. One such significant tradition is that of providing protection to patches of forests dedicated to deities and / or ancestral spirits. These forests are known as sacred groves. The tradition is very ancient and once was widespread in most parts of the world. The estimated number of sacred groves in India is over two lakhs. Groves are rich heritage of India, and play a very important role in religious and cultural life of the people. These ecosystems are rich reservoirs of biodiversity and harbour many RET species. They provide several ecosystem services, such as recharge of aquifers, soil conservation, nutrients cycling, carbon sequestration, pollination.