Diversity, distribution pattern and traditional knowledge of sacred plants in Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), Himachal Pradesh, Northwestern Himalaya
Himachal Pradesh, the mountainous part of Indian Himalayan Region, also referred as Dev Bhoomi, is famous for its religious culture and traditions. People from the state are highly religious and believe that the plants which are sacred to the Gods and Goddess also have vast medicinal potential. Hence, the present study has been carried out to investigate diversity, distribution pattern and traditional knowledge of sacred plants by the native communities of Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), Himachal Pradesh. The study revealed that 33 species (trees 06; shrubs 16; herbs 11) belonging to 29 genera and 22 families were being used in numerous religious ceremonies and also as folk medicine by indigenous people of the KWLS. Of the total, 20 species were native and 01 was endemic to the Himalayan region. It was found that leaves of 17 species, flowers of 11 species and whole plant of 8 species were used, extensive use of which may lead to decrease in their population to a great extent. Therefore, there is an utmost need to develop a proper management plan and appropriate strategy for the conservation and sustainable utilization of such sacred plants, so that their population could be maintained for posterity.
Diversity; Distribution; Himachal Pradesh; Kanawar, Nativity; Sacred plants; Traditional knowledge; Wildlife sanctuary
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