Sacred Groves: Treasure House for Macrolichen Diversity in Kumaun Himalaya

  • Yogesh JoshiEmail author
  • Shashi Upadhyay
  • Sandhya Shukla
  • Kapil Bisht
  • Krishna Chandra
  • Manish Tripathi
Research Article


The present study conducted in 21 sacred groves of Almora and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand, India revealed the occurrence of 116 macrolichen species, belonging to 13 families and 38 genera, colonizing Quercus, Lyonia, Pinus, Rhododendron, Cedrus and Myrica trees along with some shrubs viz. Pyracantha, Berberis and miscellaneous substrates. Sacred groves having Quercus as climax vegetation came out as abode of a good number of lichens making it the best host for lichens in Himalaya encompassing 79 macrolichen species, which is quite high in comparison to Pinus that only hosts 29 species. Parmeliaceae was the dominant family with 51 species of macrolichens, followed by Physciaceae (36), Collemataceae and Lobariaceae (10 species each). Since lichens are very slow growing organisms, and quite sensitive to ecological and environmental fluctuations, if once got vanished from a particular location, they will take several years to re-establish, hence, conservation of their habitat (sacred grove) is very important to prevent their extinction. The study revealed that macrolichen diversity in the studied sacred groves was positively correlated with associated taboos of the sacred groves (0.680**, P < 0.01), stating that, strictly obeying the taboos in sacred groves/forests can be one of the best way to conserve lichens.


Diversity Kumaun Himalaya Macrolichens Sacred groves Taboos 



One of the author (YJ) would like to thank Scientific and Engineering Research Board [SB/FT/LS-313/2012] and University Grants Commission [41-488/2012 (SR)] for financial assistance. Thanks are also extended to Head, Department of Botany, S.S.J. Campus, Almora and Director, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Peechi for providing laboratory facilities.


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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yogesh Joshi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shashi Upadhyay
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sandhya Shukla
    • 2
  • Kapil Bisht
    • 1
    • 3
  • Krishna Chandra
    • 1
  • Manish Tripathi
    • 1
  1. 1.Lichenology Laboratory, Department of BotanyKumaun UniversityAlmoraIndia
  2. 2.Department of Forest BotanyKerala Forest Research InstitutePeechiIndia
  3. 3.Biodiversity Conservation and Management ThemeG.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentKosi - Katarmal, AlmoraIndia

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