Sacred groves have significance in socio-culture and biodiversity conservation. This study evaluated local people perceptions regarding conservation of sacred groves for water-services, through willingness-to-pay (WTP), willingness-to-accept (WTA) and willingness-to-labour-work (DLP). Data were collected through a pre-tested questionnaire from 107 randomly selected households in 18 villages of Uttarakhand. The villages were categorised into 3 classes (core, nearby, faraway) based on proximity to the forests. The contingent-valuation method was used to evaluate WTP [Rs 3,802 (≈$57)] and WTA [Rs 38,224 (≈$571)] for water as an ecosystem-service and statistical-analyses were performed to evaluate whether factors such as gender, age, household-income and location explained differences in the parameters. It was found that gender had a significant impact on WTP, with women having higher WTP, and that location had significant impact on WTA. The result shows that WTA increased with increasing distance from the sacred-groves (Rs 43,077 ± 21,139 in faraway-villages and Rs 35,323 ± 10,483 in core-villages). The results indicated that consideration of gender inequality and education status in villages should be included in planning and decision making about participatory forest management of sacred-groves. These findings facilitate forest-resource-management in mountains and provide guidance for programmes and policies dealing with irrigation, drinking-water and community development.
Sacred grove has role in biodiversity conservation.
Gender has role on WTP especially the women are more willing to pay for conservation.
Distance from sacred grove has an important role on WTA.
In planning & decision making about participatory forest management of sacred groves gender equality and status of education should be considered.
Identification of this aspect will facilitate forest resource management in mountains.