Assessing Sacred Forests in Ethiopia, India and elsewhere

Article written by Dr. Lowman and Palatty Allesh Sinu in BioScience:

Increasing degradation of tropical forests prompts the consideration of unconventional ideas to promote conservation. In his recent book, E. O. Wilson advocates conserving half of the planet for one species (Homo sapiens) and the other half for the remaining millions of species. His list of “best places on the biosphere” worthy of saving includes the church forests of Ethiopia and the sacred groves of Western Ghats in India and Bhutan. Portions of these ecosystems remain intact today in part because they were considered sacred by the indigenous people. Sacred forests are a crucial component of biodiversity conservation, but they remain difficult to account for in most global biodiversity management networks. They have been fiercely protected by cultural and religious beliefs and taboos…

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