THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Forests and Wildlife Department’s survey on sacred groves in the state is progressing well with examiners completing the works of five districts.
While the report on Thiruvananthapuram district has been published, the data collection has been completed for Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kollam districts. Officials said that GPS-supported mapping and assigning unique ID numbers were the next tasks to conserve the pristine woods.
Thousands of sacred groves across the state are abodes of several rare endemics, including medicinal plants, reptiles, birds, small mammals, butterflies etc. Many of the groves have ponds which help retain the water level in their neighbourhood.
The Institution of Foresters Kerala has been entrusted with the survey which collects details like location of the grove, the extent of the vegetation and main plants, detailed study of selected groves, ownership, social-economic and cultural aspects. The survey report on Thiruvananthapuram has identified 452 sacred groves in the district. The larger among them are Raloor Kavu (3 acres) at Nagaroor, Sivagiri Mutt grove (3 acres) at Varkala and Sakthipuram Kavu at Vettinad (2.5 acres). The five rare climbers reported from the district’s groves are Diploclisia Glaucescens, Grewia Palodensis, Cuscuta Reflexa (a twining parasitic climber that has no connection with the ground), Dalbergia Horrida and Trichosanthes Bracteatus.