[PDF] Total Biosphere Reserves in India 2022, Map, Facts

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Here is the updated list of Biosphere Reserves in India. At present India has 18 biosphere reserves. The latest biosphere reserve is the Panna Biosphere Reserve, located in Madhya Pradesh. Recently (in 2020) Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve under the 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 the conservation of all forms of life, along with its support system.

• The Biosphere Reserves are identified not only to protect the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also for 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 address land use constraints and protect biodiversity.

• Biosphere reserves can be used for 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 fulfil 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 introduces the designation of ‘Biosphere Reserve’

• 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 was launched in 1971.

Who nominates an area as a Biosphere Reserve?

• Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments.
• The area or a region specified for biosphere reserve 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 the nature of 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 word, it is a main international tool 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 the Core area.
• It is the area surrounded by the core zone.
•  This region is used for scientific research,  monitoring and education.

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

Structures of Biosphere Reserve
Structures of Biosphere Reserve  (Image Source https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/detail_map4.png)

Number of Biosphere Reserves, Current Status

Biosphere Reserves in 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.

Latest biosphere reserves in India

Panna National Park is India’s latest declared Biosphere Reserve.

• It is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in India.

• In 2020, it has been designated as a World Network of Biosphere Reserves based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program listing.

Biosphere Reserves in the World

• There are currently 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites that belong to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Spain has the highest number of biosphere reserves in the world, (a total of 52). It is followed by the United States (47) Mexico (42) and China (33)

List of 18 Biosphere reserves in India

1Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve1986Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
2Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve1988Uttarakhand
3Gulf of Mannar1989Tamil Nadu
5Sundarbans1989West Bengal
8Dihang – Dibang1998Arunachal Pradesh
9Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve1999Madhya Pradesh
10Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve2005Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh
11Great Rann of Kutch2008Gujarat
12Cold Desert2009Himachal Pradesh
13Khangchendzonga National Park2000Sikkim
14Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve2001Kerala, Tamil Nadu
15Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve1989Andaman and Nicobar Islands
17Seshachalam Hills2010Andhra Pradesh
18Panna2011Madhya Pradesh

State-wise Biosphere Reserves in India

Biosphere Reserves in Tamilnadu

• Tamil Nadu has 3 Biosphere Reserves.

• 2 of the 3 Biosphere Reserves are shared by Kerala and Karnataka.

• The three Biosphere Reserves are_
1. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (1986) [Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka]

2. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (2001) [Kerala, Tamil Nadu]

3. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (1989) [Tamil Nadu]

Biosphere Reserves in Kerala

• Kerala has two biosphere reserves namely Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

• The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is India’s largest protected forest area, spanning across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

• The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a biosphere reserve in the Nilgiri Mountains in the Western Ghats of South India.

• Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve became part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2016.

Biosphere Reserves in Odisha

• Simlipal National Park is Odisha’s only Biosphere Reserve.

• It is a national park and a tiger reserve in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.

Biosphere reserves in Madhya Pradesh

Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve (1999)

◘ Panna Biosphere Reserve (2011)

• It is a national park located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.

• It was declared as the 22nd Tiger reserve of India, in 1994.

• Also, It is the fifth Tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

◘ Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve (2005) [Shared with Chhattishgarh]

Biosphere reserves in West Bengal

◘ Sundarbans Biosphere reserves (1989)

Biosphere reserves in Gujarat

◘ Great Rann of Kutch (2008)

Biosphere reserves in Himachal Pradesh

◘ Cold Desert (2009)

Biosphere reserves in Chhattisgarh

◘ Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve (2005) [Shared with Madhya Pradesh]

Biosphere reserves in Assam

◘ Manas (1989)

• Manas is a national park (1990), UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site (1985), Project Tiger reserve (1973-74), biosphere reserve (1989) and an elephant reserve in Assam, India.

• Manas is famous for its population of wild water buffalo.

◘ Dibru-Saikhowa (1997)

• Dibru-Saikhowa biosphere reserve or National Park located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, Assam.

• It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997.

Biosphere reserves in Sikkim

◘ Khangchendzonga National Park (2000)

• It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2016.

• It is India’s first “Mixed Heritage (Natural and Cultural)” site.

Biosphere reserves in Uttarakhand

◘ Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (1988)

• Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is located around the Nanda Devi hilltop in Chamoli Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.

• Nanda Devi National Park was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.

• Later, it was expanded and renamed as Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park in 2005.

Biosphere reserves in Meghalaya

◘ Nokrek Biosphere Reserve (1988)

• Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, India.

• UNESCO added the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009.

Biosphere reserves in Andhra Pradesh

◘ Seshachalam Hills (2010)

• The Seshachalam hill range is located in the Eastern Ghats of the Andhra Pradesh state in southeastern India.

• In 2010, it was designated as a Biosphere Reserve.

• It has huge reserves of red sandalwood which is used in medicines, soaps, spiritual rituals etc.

• The Tirupati Hindu pilgrimage town is located in the hills.

• The famous Hindu temple Sri Venkateswara Swamy Vari Mandir is located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in the Tirupati district.

Biosphere reserves in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

◘ Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (1989)

• Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve covers a large part of Great Nicobar Island.

• It is the largest of the Nicobar Islands in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India.

• In 2013, it was included in UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme.

Biosphere reserves in Arunachal Pradesh

◘ Dihang – Dibang (1998)

• Mauling National Park and Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary lie wholly or partially within this Biosphere Reserve.

• The reserve spreads over three districts namely Dibang Valley, Upper Siang, and West Siang.

• It covers the high mountains of the Eastern Himalayas and Mishmi Hills.

List of Key Fauna of Biosphere reserves in India

Sl.NoNameKey fauna
1Nilgiri Biosphere ReserveNilgiri tahr, tiger, lion-tailed macaque
2Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveSnow leopard, Himalayan black bear
3Gulf of MannarDugong
4NokrekRed Panda
5SundarbansRoyal Bengal tiger
6ManasAsiatic elephant, tiger, Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, pygmy hog
7SimlipalGaur, Asian elephant
8Dihang – DibangMishmi takin, musk deer
9Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveGiant squirrel, flying squirrel
10Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere ReserveFour-horned antelope, Indian wild dog, sarus crane, white-rumped vulture, sacred grove bush frog
11Great Rann of KutchIndian wild ass
12Cold DesertSnow leopard
13Khangchendzonga National ParkSnow leopard, red panda
14Agasthyamalai Biosphere ReserveNilgiri tahr, Asian elephant
15Great Nicobar Biosphere ReserveSaltwater crocodile
16Dibru-SaikhowaWhite-winged wood duck, water buffalo, black-breasted parrotbill, tiger, capped langur
17Seshachalam HillsSlender loris
18Pannatiger, leopard, chital, chinkara, nilgai, sambhar and sloth bear

18 Biosphere Reserves in India map UPSC

map pointing of Biosphere Reserves in India
Total Biosphere Reserves in India

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

List of World network of biosphere reserves in India

NameStates/ UTYear
1. Nilgiri Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka2000
2. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu2001
3. Sundarbans Biosphere ReserveWest Bengal2001
4. Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveUttarakhand2004
5. Nokrek Biosphere ReserveMeghalaya2009
6. Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh2009
7. Simlipal Biosphere ReserveOdisha2009
8. Great Nicobar Biosphere ReserveAndaman & Nicobar Islands2013
9. Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere ReserveChhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh2012
10. Agasthyamalai Biosphere ReserveKerala and Tamil Nadu2016
11. Khangchendzonga National ParkSikkim2018
12. Panna Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh2020

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.

• Biosphere Reserves of India declared by the – State or Central Government.

• The Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) was launched by UNESCO in -1971

• Total number of biosphere reserves in India:18

• Nilgiri was 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

• Marine biosphere reserves in India – Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. How many bio reserves does India have in 2022?

Answer: Total 18 Biosphere Reserves

Q2. Which is the 1st biosphere reserve in India?

Answer: The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

Q3. Which is the largest biosphere reserve in India?

Answer: Great Rann of Kutch

Q4. Which is the smallest biosphere reserve in India?

Answer: Dibru-Saikhowa (Located in Assam)

Q5. Which state in India has the largest number of tiger reserves?

Answer: Madhya Pradesh (3 Biosphere Reserves)

Q6. Name two biosphere reserves of Assam.

Answer: Dibru-Saikhowa and Manas

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