In Kerala a love for nature even among people living in village and urban conditions is evident from the practice of preserving very small areas with all the natural plants and other animal undisturbed. Such natural units are preserved as part of the temple environment through out Kerala and they are called sacred groves. Some of the sacred groves extent to 35 ha. These sacred groves exhibit typical forest conditions and they are remnants of the natural forest once existed in those areas
These places were considered 'sacred', as Gods were supposed to bless them and naturally their protection was considered an obligation on the part of the society. Thus many a sacred grove has been preserved as sustainable resources, ensuring the basic capital in tact. These sacred groves are therefore valuable gene pools and the first major effort to recognize and conserve biodiversity.
Most sacred groves harbored perennial water source and hence formed the vital support system of many villages. The age-old system of every village having a temple, a tank and associated sacred grove explains the ancient method of water harvesting and sharing.