Biosphere reserves in India

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List of Biosphere reserves in India
List of Biosphere reserves in India

Here is the updated list of Biosphere Reserves of India. At present India has 18 biosphere reserves. Latest Biosphere reserve Panna biosphere reserve, which is located in Madhya Pradesh. Recently (in 2020) Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve under MAB programme.

What is a Biosphere?

▶ The Biosphere is a region of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth occupied by living organisms.

▶ The biosphere is divided into regions called biomes.

▶ Biomes are the largest of the five organizational levels. Scientists classify biomes into five main types
1. Aquatic
2. Desert
3. Forest
4. Grassland
5. Tundra

What are Biosphere Reserves?

▶ The Biosphere Reserves are the specific region of a biome reserved for conservation of all forms of life, along with its support system.

▶ The Biosphere Reserves are identified not only to protect its flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life.

What are the benefits of Biosphere Reserves?

▶ Biosphere reserves ensure the sustainable development of the region by encouraging wise use of natural and human resources.

▶ They provide practical ways to resolve land use conflicts and to protect biological diversity.

▶ Biosphere reserves can be used for the academic and government research activity that addresses local issues and problems.

▶ Biosphere reserves encourage diverse local economies to revitalize rural areas.

▶ The biosphere reserves enhance the livelihood of the local community or the tribal people living in that region.

The three functions of biosphere reserves

▶ Each biosphere reserve is intended to fulfill three basic functions
▶ 1. Conservation of Biodiversity
• To contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.

▶ 2. Sustainable Development
• To foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable.

▶ 3. Support for Logistics
• To provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.

Who introduce the designation of ‘Biosphere Reserve’

▶ The UNESCO has introduced the designation ‘Biosphere Reserve’ for natural areas to minimize conflict between development and conservation.
▶ The UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves launched in 1971.

Who nominates an area as a Biosphere Reserves?

▶ Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments.
▶ The area or a region specified for  biosphere reserved remains under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.

UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme

▶ The World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the MAB Programme fosters the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through ….
• Participatory dialogue
• Knowledge sharing
• Poverty reduction
• Human well-being improvements
• Respect for cultural values
• Society’s ability to cope with change.

▶ To improve human livelihoods , the MAB  combines natural and social sciences, economics and education.

▶ In one words it is a main international tools to develop and implement sustainable development approaches in a wide array of contexts.

Structure of Biosphere Reserve

▶ To carry out the complementary activities of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biosphere reserves are traditionally organized into three interrelated zones, known as the ..
1. Core area
2. The buffer zone
3. Transition zone or ‘area of cooperation.’

◘ Core area
•  Strictly protected zone
•  It is for the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.

◘ Buffer zone
•  Limited restriction compared to Core area.
• It is the area surrounded by the core zone.
•  This region used for the scientific research,  monitoring and education.

Transition zone
• Also known as Manipulation Zone.
•  Several human activities like, human settlement, cultivation of crops, forestry allowed here.


Structures of Biosphere Reserve
Structures of Biosphere Reserve  (Photo Source

Number of Biosphere Reserves, Current Status

✪ India
▶ At present India has 18 biosphere Reserves.
▶ Out of 18  biosphere reserves  Twelve  biosphere reserves are  part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.

✪ World
▶ The World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 714 sites in 129 countries all over the world, including 21 transboundary sites.

List of Biosphere reserves of India

Sl.No Name Year State
1 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve 1986 Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
2 Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve 1988 Uttarakhand
3 Gulf of Mannar 1989 Tamil Nadu
4 Nokrek 1988 Meghalaya
5 Sundarbans 1989 West Bengal
6 Manas 1989 Assam
7 Simlipal 1994 Odisha
8 Dihang – Dibang 1998 Arunachal Pradesh
9 Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve 1999 Madhya Pradesh
10 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve 2005 Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh
11 Great Rann of Kutch 2008 Gujarat
12 Cold Desert 2009 Himachal Pradesh
13 Khangchendzonga National Park 2000 Sikkim
14 Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve 2001 Kerala, Tamil Nadu
15 Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve 1989 Andaman and Nicobar Islands
16 Dibru-Saikhowa 1997 Assam
17 Seshachalam Hills 2010 Andhra Pradesh
18 Panna 2011 Madhya Pradesh


List of Key Fauna of Biosphere reserves

Sl.No Name Key fauna
1 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Nilgiri tahr, tiger, lion-tailed macaque
2 Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Snow leopard, Himalayan black bear
3 Gulf of Mannar Dugong
4 Nokrek Red Panda
5 Sundarbans Royal Bengal tiger
6 Manas Asiatic elephant, tiger, Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, pygmy hog
7 Simlipal Gaur, Asian elephant
8 Dihang – Dibang Mishmi takin, musk deer
9 Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Giant squirrel, flying squirrel
10 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Four-horned antelope, Indian wild dog, sarus crane, white-rumped vulture, sacred grove bush frog
11 Great Rann of Kutch Indian wild ass
12 Cold Desert Snow leopard
13 Khangchendzonga National Park Snow leopard, red panda
14 Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve Nilgiri tahr, Asian elephant
15 Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve Saltwater crocodile
16 Dibru-Saikhowa White-winged wood duck, water buffalo, black-breasted parrotbill, tiger, capped langur
17 Seshachalam Hills Slender loris
18 Panna tiger, leopard, chital, chinkara, nilgai, sambhar and sloth bear
List of Biosphere Reserves of India
List of Biosphere Reserves of India

Biosphere reserves under UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list

Name States/ UT Year
1. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka 2000
2. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu 2001
3. Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve West Bengal 2001
4. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand 2004
5. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve Meghalaya 2009
6. Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh 2009
7. Simlipal Biosphere Reserve Odisha 2009
8. Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2013
9. Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh 2012
10. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve Kerala and Tamil Nadu 2016
11. Khangchendzonga National Park Sikkim 2018
12. Panna Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh 2020


Fact about the biosphere reserves of India

• Largest Biosphere Reserves of India – Great Rann of Kutch , Gujarat
• Smallest Biosphere Reserves of India – Dibru-Saikhowa, Assam.
• First Biosphere Reserves of India – Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
• Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a part of – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala.
• The Biosphere Reserves in India are declared by the – State or Central Government.
• The Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) was launched by UNESCO in –1971
• India has how many Biosphere Reserves ? 18
• Nilgiri designated as Biosphere Reserve in the year – 1986.
• Latest Biosphere reserves of India ? – Panna Biosphere Reserve,Madhya Pradesh
• Panna Biosphere Reserve designated as Biosphere Reserve  in the year (under UNESCO MAB) – 2020

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