India is the largest tea-producing country in the world and contributes 33% of the global tea production. Much of this tea comes from the biodiversity hotspots in the northeastern regions and the Western Ghats. Due to market fluctuations, increasing costs of production and lease expiry, many coffee, tea and cardamom plantations have become unviable for active management, resulting in labour unrest. In Thiruvananthapuram division of Kerala alone, 536 ha (55%) of the total 969 ha of the planted area was abandoned.

While sacred groves (forest fragments protected for religious reasons) are widely acknowledged to have a beneficial effect on biodiversity conservation, the ecological benefits of individual sacred trees remain unknown. Fig trees are present as sacred trees in humandominated landscapes across South Asia and are considered keystone species for wildlife in tropical forests.