Narasimha Hegde, Sociocultural and Ecological Dynamics of Sacred Swamps in the Central Western Ghats, India

Hegde NarasimhaNarasimha Hegde has been working in conservation and natural resource management for over seventeen years.  Through this work has developed a passion for the endangered fresh water swamps in Western Ghats, India. Narasimha’s project: the Sociocultural and Ecological Dynamics of Sacred Swamps in the Central Western Ghats, India; is a study aiming to understand the physical characteristics of sacred and non-sacred swamps, understand the faiths, rituals, customary rules and how these rules are passed from one generation to another. Contribution of the sacred swamps in long term sustainability and how these traditional management practices could be revitalized for effective conservation.

Tropical fresh water swamps are essential as a lifeline of fresh-water organisms in the Western Ghats. These wetlands play a critical role in flood control and maintaining ground water level but are being reduced to highly fragmented pockets, primarily due to human interference. Hegde’s project is focused on the ecological restoration of these fresh water swamps, and can better facilitate through information research on how the local communities engage the swamp lands.

“Faiths have enormous impacts on the way that we think and behave, including how we relate to the natural world,” Narasimha writes,  “Links between faiths and conservation of land and water exist throughout the world. Sacred areas are probably the oldest form of habitat protection on the planet and still form a large and unrecognized network of sanctuaries around the world.”  Narasimha hopes to bring faith together with conservation in order to provide a new approach to addressing this longstanding issue of wetland conservation.

Funds from The Pollination Project will pay for the support needed to conduct the research survey.

GRANT AWARD DATE:  JANUARY 17, 2014