Trees for Sacred Groves

Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Available for Adoption upto: 10,000 Trees

Project Purpose
Trees for Holy Environs


In FY 2024-25, we will plant 10,000 trees in Marakkanam taluk, Viluppuram district, Tamil Nadu, India.


Enhancement of


Carbon Sequestration

Increase in

Green Cover

Generation of

Rural Employment

Conservation of

Water Table

Why Trees?


Throughout history, diverse cultures have valued the conservation of natural resources, often illustrated through traditional worship practices that emphasise the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. Sacred groves are a shining example of this, representing tracts of pristine forest endowed with rich biodiversity. These groves have been safeguarded for centuries by local communities due to cultural and religious beliefs attributing divine presence to them, thereby protecting villagers from calamities.


The concept of sacred groves dates back to ancient times, with roots tracing as far back as the Rig-Veda, a testament to the enduring tradition of tree worship. However, despite their historical significance, many sacred groves, particularly those in coastal Tamil Nadu, face a serious threat of decline. Research conducted by the Auroville Botanical Gardens highlights alarming trends, revealing that approximately 60% of these groves in Marakkanam taluk, Villupuram district, have experienced a reduction in canopy cover over the past two decades. Tragically, 4 out of 58 groves can no longer be classified as such.[1]


These sacred groves play a vital role in supporting conservation efforts and maintaining harmony between human activity and the natural world, thus promoting environmental sustainability. However, despite their significance, age-old conservation methods like these are under threat. Rapid urbanisation, changes in land use, and evolving belief systems have begun to impact these forest patches adversely. Marakkanam, a small town nestled in Villupuram district, is home to three sacred forests, each facing the pressing issue of shrinking due to encroachment and deforestation in the surrounding area. The traditional festivals held seasonally or annually within these sacred groves have expanded in scale over time, inadvertently contributing to the fragmentation of these invaluable forests.


An article by Sustainable Footprint mentions that “Sacred groves have served as important reservoirs of biodiversity, preserving unique species of plants, insects, and animals. Sacred and taboo associations attached to particular species of trees, forest groves, mountains, rivers, caves, and temple sites should therefore continue to play an important role in the protection of particular ecosystems by local people. Particular plant species are often used by traditional healers and priests who have a strong interest in the preservation of such sites and ecosystems.”[2]


Scientific American believes that preserving these sacred forests are crucial to preserving the planet’s rich biodiversity. It mentions that “About 40 percent of the earth’s wildlife-rich forests are still defended by the local groups who live in and around them. Empowering such “ecosystem people”—who live close to nature and can directly observe and appreciate the manifold benefits it confers—could be the most effective way to protect what remains of the planet’s biodiversity.[3]


Comparing present conditions with data collected two decades ago underscores the severity of the situation. However, there remains hope if decisive action is taken promptly. Tree plantation initiatives within sacred groves can prove to be quite important, not only for environmental conservation but also for the preservation of cultural heritage. These groves, revered and protected by cultures worldwide, serve as invaluable sanctuaries of biodiversity and spiritual significance.

Tree Species


This tree plantation initiative aims to plant trees of diverse species which will help restore and conserve a unique forest. In addition to restoring the forest patches, the project will help local communities by generating additional income sources through plantation activities and plantation produce. We support planting trees of local species at our planting sites since they are compatible with the local ecosystem and have a higher likelihood of surviving due to their non-invasive character.


We will plant fruit species such as Jamun (Syzygium cumini) and Narivizhi (Tricalysia sphaerocarpa) for sustenance. Sultan champa (Calophyllum inophyllum) and Deris/Panlata (Trifoliata) will serve as fodder and one can extract oil from the seeds of Mahua (Madhuca longifolia).

Social Impact


Tree plantation offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*


Sacred forests serve as havens for biodiversity, providing habitats for a wide array of plant and animal species. Planting trees in sacred forests helps enhance and expand these habitats, promoting biodiversity conservation and protecting threatened or endangered species.


Sacred forests are deeply intertwined with cultural and spiritual beliefs. By planting trees in sacred forests, communities actively engage in preserving their cultural heritage and traditional practices. It reinforces the sense of identity and connection to the land, fostering cultural resilience and intergenerational knowledge transfer.


Tree plantation initiatives for sacred forests involve community participation, fostering a sense of ownership and stewardship. It strengthens community cohesion, builds local capacity for sustainable forest management, and empowers communities to take an active role in conservation efforts.

Our project generates employment opportunities for the locals since we are committed to working closely with them at our planting sites. They are involved in preparing the saplings in the nursery, transportation of the saplings, plantation and maintenance.


The local communities can also earn additional income from the plantation produce, in this case, they can supplement their income from timber and fruits once the tree matures.


A mature tree can absorb about 20 kg of CO2 each year. The tree plantation in this region will act as a carbon sink thereby playing a great role in our fight against climate change.


*The environmental benefits of the trees reach their full potential as they mature.


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