Forest Preferences & Urbanization: Perspective from four Sacred Groves in India’s National Capital Region

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2017-04-27

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Abstract

The sacred grove, a forest abode of a deity or deities, exists in contemporary myths and landscapes. This study analyzes sacred groves as complex socio-ecological systems and approaches the plight of four extant sacred groves amidst the urbanization in India’s National Capital Region as a collective action problem. Utilizing demographic and ecological variation in Willingness to Pay (WTP) – by revealed and stated preference measures – for visits to sacred forest, non-sacred forest, and worship sites outside of sacred forests, I analyze shifts in demand in this socio-ecological system. This data provides nuance to the hypothesis that Sanskritization – transition from local, folk to global, Hindu deity worship – results in degradation of the sacred grove institution. While increased urban and Sanskritization characteristics correspond with a trade-off of sacred forest for temple preference, these characteristics also correspond with increased perception of non-sacred forests as useful for ecosystem services. These results suggest attention to nonlinear dynamics in collective action settings sensitive to cultural evolution.

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Grace, David (2017). Forest Preferences & Urbanization: Perspective from four Sacred Groves in India’s National Capital Region. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14131.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.