Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?Around the world sacred groves are the community-protected sites having limited activities inside the forest.They are the reservoirs of local and regional biodiversity. However, recent changes in the culture and beliefs among young generation of local communities pose threat to the health of sacred groves. By using dung beetle as an indicator taxon the study assessed the quality of the sacred groves.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?The study took place in village ecosystem of North Kerala. We examined the pattern of habitat use by the dung beetles in a village landscape that include the sacred groves and home gardens. Dung beetles were sampled at eleven sites in sacred groves and adjoining home gardens.
Results: What are your most important results?The study collected 1,914 dung beetle individuals from 33 species: 1,490 individuals from 32 species in home gardens and 424 individuals from 15 species in sacred groves. Abundance, richness and species diversity of the dung beetles was significantly high in the home garden.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?The difference in pattern of habitat use and overall shift in dominant species shows that they are excellent indicators of habitat change.The low abundance and diversity of the dung beetles in the sacred groves indicate that the sacred groves experience limited grazing pressure from the livestock of the village and hence they maintain high quality. The home garden in the village ecosystem contributes enormously to the overall diversity at a landscape level.