Wolfgang Purvy

India Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary

Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is a haven for native plants of the Western Ghat mountains; a place of "immense global importance for the conservation of biological diveristy" according to UNESCO.

Giving life back to the rainforest

Founded in 1981 by Wolfgang Dieter Theuerkauf, Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is a success story for the conservation of rare and endangered plant species of the Western Ghats.

At 75 acres the Sanctuary fosters myriad rainforest plants, from buttressed trees to epiphytes, tubers, lianas, mosses, legumes and grasses. Between its habitat restoration programme and plant conservation programme, it is home to over 2,000 plant species. It is run by a small group of horticulturalists, naturalists and educators who work to rehabilitate threatened plant species and restore habitats motivated by the devastating loss of biodiversity in the Western Ghats.

Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary employs and trains women of the local, rural community, where economic opportunities are scarce.

The world in which we live necessarily yields the world that is to come

Suprabha Seshan, 'Once upon a biome'

Womenin treecrop auto x2

One of the Sanctuary's core beliefs is that diverse species depend on each other to survive and thrive.

Through intimate involvement with the forest ecology Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is succeeding in rehabilitating plant species and rewilding habitat

Azadi cleaning algae off an orchid

The Sanctuary's priority is to propagate rare species of plants to then reintroduce them into the wild.

The methods GBS uses to combat species erosion and habitat degradation through ecosystem ‘gardening’ consist of a mix of in-situ and ex-situ conservation and primarily focus on the conservation of herbaceous rainforest plants.