Biotechnology Unit, Department of Botany, Jai NarainVyas University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan- 342033, India.


Special sites or areas that have one or more attributes which distinguish them as somehow extraordinary, usually in a religious or spiritual sense, are called sacred places. They tend to evoke a feeling of some awesome, mysterious, and transcendent power that merits special reverence and treatment. Sacred groves are stands of trees or patches of forest that local communities conserve primarily because of their religious importance. These groves can also serve economic, medicinal, social, and cultural functions. Many sacred places in nature are associated with indigenous cultures. ‘Oran’, a sacred grove is a piece of land that is held by the Bishnoi community in honour and respect of a local deity. Here indigenous societies commonly use a wide variety of natural resources for their survival, economy, medicines, rituals, and other purposes. Historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects of the ecology of indigenous societies are grounded in the biodiversity, ecosystems, and landforms in their habitat. Thus, indigenes are most important to consider in exploring the relationships between sacred places, biodiversity, and conservation. Sacred groves that have a conservation role, whether actual or potential and intentional or coincidental, may need to be strengthened or augmented by economic incentives for local communities; legal, government, and/or international environmental protection schemes; and the establishment and maintenance of buffer zones. Recognition and protection of sacred places by scientific, environmental, governmental, and non-governmental organizations can simultaneously promote their conservation as well as that of the associated biodiversity and cultures. [M. S. Rathore and N. S. Shekhawat. Ethnobotanical Importance of Orans - As a Means of Conserving Biodiversity. International Journal of Agricultural Science, Research and Technology, 2011; 1(4):195-200].


1. Wilson, E. O. (1999). The Diversity of Life. W.W. Norton and Company (Second Edition) New York.
2. Tisdell, C.N., Hemanath S and Wilson, C. (2007). Biodiversity conservation and public support for sustainable wildlife harvesting: A case study. Int. J. Biodivers. Sci. and Manage, 3(3): 129-144.
3. Buijs, A.E., Fischer, A., Rink, D and Young, J.C. (2008). Looking beyond superficial knowledge gaps: Understanding public representations of biodiversity. Int. J. Biodivers. Sci. and Manage., 4 (2): 65-80.
4. Byers, B.A., Robert, N.C and Andrew, T.H. (2001). Linking the Conservation of Culture and Nature: A Case Study of Sacred Forests in Zimbabwe. Hum. Ecol., 29(2):187-218.
5. West, P., James, I., Brockington D. P, Peoples. (2006). The Social Impact of Protected Areas. Ann. Rev. Anthropol., 35: 251-277.
6. Stevens, S. (1997). Conservation through Cultural Survival: Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
7. Srivastana, S., Chatterjee, S., Gokhale Y., Malhotra, K.C. (2007). Sacred Groves of India: An Overview. Aryan Books International, New Delhi.
8. Sponsel, L.E., Poranee, N.S., Nukul R., Somporn, J. (1997). Sacred and/or Secular Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation in Thailand. Worldviews: Environ Cult Religion., 2(2):155-167.
9. Orlove., Benjamin, S., Stephen, B.B. (1996). Anthropology and the Conservation of Biodiversity. Ann. Rev. Anthropol., 25:329-352.
10. Bruner, A.G., Raymond, E.G., Richard, E.R and Gustavo, A.B. (2001). Effectiveness of Parks in Protecting Tropical Biodiversity. Science, 291:125-128.
11. Bala, R.S and Parida, A. (2007). Recognition and Reward to the Tribal and Farming communities for the conservation of agrobiodiversity. Curr Sci., 92: 581-584.
12. Malhotra, K.C. (1998). Anthropological Dimensions of Sacred Groves in India: An Overview. In: Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Enfield: Science Publishers, India.
13. Gokhale, Y., Velankar, R., Subash, C. M.D and Gadgil, M. (1998). Sacred woods, grasslands and waterbodies as self-organized systems of conservation. In: Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management, Oxford and IBH Publishing Corporation, New Delhi.
14. Ramakrishnan, P.S., Saxena, K.G and Chandrashekara, U.M. (1994). Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Enfield Science Publishers, India.
15. Dagla, H.R., Paliwal, A and Shekhawat, N.S. (2007). Oran: A sacred way for biodiversity conservation in Indian Thar Desert. Curr Sci., 93:279-280.
16. Jha, M., Vardhan, H., Chatterjee, S., Kumar, K and Sastry, A.R.K. (1998). Status of Orans (Sacred Groves) in Peepasar and Khejarli Villages in Rajasthan. In: Conserving the Sacred for Biodiversity Management. Oxford and IBH, New Delhi.