What is a Biosphere Reserve?
Biosphere Reserves in India – Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Biosphere Reserves are nominated by the specific country’s government which meet a minimal set of criteria for inclusion in the world network of Biosphere reserves under the Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme of UNESCO.
Criteria for designation of Biosphere Reserve
- A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
- The core area should be typical of a bio-geographical unit and large enough to sustain viable populations representing all trophic levels in the ecosystem.
- The management authority to ensure the involvement/cooperation of local communities to bring a variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development while managing and containing the conflicts.
- Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of the environment.
Structure and functions of Biosphere Reserve
Biosphere reserves are demarcated into following 3 inter-related zones:
Core zone must contain suitable habitat for numerous plant and animal species, including higher order predators and may contain centres of endemism. Core areas often conserve the wild relatives of economic species and also represent important genetic reservoirs having exceptional scientific interest.
The buffer zone adjoins or surrounds core zone, uses and activities are managed in this area in the ways that help in the protection of the core zone in its natural condition. These uses and activities include restoration, demonstration sites for enhancing value addition to the resources, limited recreation, tourism, fishing, grazing, etc; which are permitted to reduce its effect on the core zone. Research and educational activities are to be encouraged. Human activities, if natural within BR, are likely to continue if these do not adversely affect the ecological diversity.
The transition area is the outermost part of a biosphere reserve. This is usually not delimited one and is a zone of cooperation where conservation knowledge and management skills are applied and uses are managed in harmony with the purpose of the biosphere reserve. This includes settlements, croplands, managed forests and area for intensive recreation and other economic uses characteristics of the region.
The first biosphere reserve of the world was established in 1979, since then the network of biosphere reserves has increased to 631 in 119 countries across the world. Presently, there are 18 notified Biosphere Reserves in India.
Biosphere Reserves in India
|S. No.||Name|| Date of
|Area (in km2)||Location (State)|
(Core 1240 & Buffer 4280)
|Part of Wayanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka).|
(Core 712.12, Buffer 5,148.570) & T. 546.34)
|Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar districts (Uttarakhand).|
(Core 47.48 & Buffer 227.92, Transition Zone 544.60)
|Part of Garo Hills (Meghalaya).|
|4||Great Nicobar||06.01.1989||885 (Core 705 & Buffer 180)||Southernmost islands of Andaman And Nicobar (A&N Islands).|
|5||Gulf of Mannar||18.02.1989||10,500 km2
Total Gulf area
(area of Islands 5.55 km2)
|The Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu).|
(Core 391 & Buffer 2,446)
|Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamprup and Darang districts (Assam)|
(Core 1700 & Buffer 7900)
|Part of the delta of Ganges and Brahmaputra river system
(Core 845, Buffer 2129 & Transition 1400
|Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa).|
(Core 340 & Buffer 425)
|Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts (Assam)|
(Core 4094.80 &Buffer 1016.70)
|Part of Siang and Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.|
|11||Pachmarhi||03.03.1999||4926||Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh.|
(Core 1819.34 & Buffer 835.92)
|Parts of Khangchendzonga hills and Sikkim.|
|13||Agasthyamalai||12.11.2001||1828||Neyyar, Peppara and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries and their adjoining areas in Kerala.|
|14||Achanakamar – Amarkantak||30.3.2005||3835.51
(Core 551.55 & Buffer 3283.86)
|Covers parts of Anupur and Dindori districts of M.P. and parts of Bilaspur districts of Chhattisgarh State.|
|15||Kachchh||29.01.2008||12,454 km2||Part of Kachchh, Rajkot, Surendra Nagar and Patan Civil Districts of Gujarat State|
|16||Cold Desert||28.08.2009||7770||Pin Valley National Park and surroundings; Chandratal and Sarchu&Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh|
|17||Seshachalam Hills||20.09.2010||4755.997||Seshachalam Hill Ranges covering parts of Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh|
|18||Panna||25.08.2011||2998.98||Part of Panna and Chhattarpur districts in Madhya Pradesh|
Source: Wildlife Institute of India