||Research in the conservation space has most often focused on traditional protected
areas like national parks as being the model places that provide the benefits and
values of conserved land like high biodiversity, healthy habitats, and balanced ecosystems.
However, other classes of land like sacred groves have the potential to contribute
to these same conservation values. We assessed the conservation value of sacred groves
by analyzing two specific variables: 1) forest loss that is happening in and around
the sacred groves and 2) the sacred groves' contributions to habitat connectivity.
A comparison analysis between the amount of forest loss in areas surrounding sacred
groves and the district in which the sacred groves are located was performed. This
analysis was used to determine if and the extent to which sacred groves help prevent
forest loss. Two connectivity analyses were performed: a creation of habitat corridors
and an analysis using a set of geoprocessing tools called GeoHAT. These analyses were
used to compare what the connectivity of the landscape looks like, both with and without
the sacred groves. Results show that despite the historic forest loss in the region,
loss in more recent decades is minimal and does not differ with proximity to sacred
groves. Results of the connectivity analyses indicate that the sacred groves' contributions
to the connectivity of the region is negligible. This is likely due to their extremely
small size along with the severity of fragmentation in the region.