ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Impact of Changing Economy on the Kodavas

Forest Shrines and Sacred Groves

The article delineates the life-affirming values of caring for the earth among the Kodavas in Kodagu district, Karnataka. It argues that the coffee economy under colonial rule depleted the forestland, a trend exacerbated by the post-independence economic and forest policies. The full impact of these policies are apparent from the growing conflict in the area between wild elephants and humans.

Kodagu—the land of a thousand hills, primeval forests, and lush green valleys—lies on the summits and slopes of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. The splendour of the mountains encircled by clouds and early morning mists is perhaps what made the ancient poets exclaim, “This land of our birth is the loveliest chain of gold in Jambera, India” (Chinnappa 1924: 33–34). In more prosaic terms, scientists have described Kodagu (also known as Coorg) as a “micro hotspot of biodiversity,” for it supports a rich diversity of plants, insects, reptiles and animals. The land nurtures a “veritable pool of genetic diversity” (Raghavendra and Kushalappa 2011: 3). Second only to the sub-Himalayan region in biodiversity, the land is home to 1,300 species of plants spread over 700 genera and more than 160 families. Its forests contain some priceless tropical trees, such as sandalwood, teak and rosewood, as well as wild forms of cultivated plants(Kamath 1993: 114). These forests are vital for the sustenance of the local agricultural economy as well as soil conservation and moisture (Verma 2017: 10).

Changing Context of Kodagu

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Updated On : 6th Jul, 2018


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