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Patches of socially protected forests or sacred groves (SGs) grown around places of local deities and/ or ancestral spirits are very ancient, and once was widespread in most parts of the state of West Bengal, including Nadia district. The causes of their dwindling count may be attributed to various reasons, most of them being anthropogenic. They are the rich biodiversity heritage of the state and play an important role in the religious and sociocultural life of the local people. Being self-ecosystems, they perform most of the ecological functions. Many threatened species have been found to be safely protected in the SGs. The district of Nadia in West Bengal is enriched with SGs for conserving local beliefs. Altogether 60 SGs were studied in different corners of Nadia, West Bengal. People across caste and creed are engaged in protecting age old faiths in old plants, their day to day medicinal uses and thus eventually conserving them. By doing this, they are also helping toward the sustenance of animals living on these old plant populations leading to the conservation of local biodiversity in such SGs. With continuous endeavour and active participation of women, the general people mostly from rural areas of the district are helping the state biodiversity conservation authority to conserve the heritage of these biodiversity sites across the district through financial and logistic aid. Conservation and judicious management of SGs are integral part of the aspiration of local population who are also got benefited from sharing of the resources from such areas.

Benefit sharing, biodiversity, conservation, heritage site, sacred grove, traditional management.

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