Biosphere Reserves in India – Geography Notes PDF in English & Hindi for UPSC and other Competitive Exams

Biosphere Reserves in India: Biosphere Reserves play a crucial role in promoting the coexistence of human activities and the protection of natural ecosystems. They serve as examples of how conservation and sustainable development can work together to ensure the well-being of both the environment and local communities.

Biosphere Reserves in India

Biosphere Reserves are designated areas recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. These reserves are intended to promote the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. Biosphere Reserves are unique because they aim to reconcile the conservation of ecosystems and species with the well-being of local communities through responsible and sustainable development.

Distribution of the Biosphere Reserves across the World are as follows:

  • 85 sites in 31 countries in Africa
  • 33 sites in 12 countries in the Arab States
  • 157 sites in 24 countries in Asia and the Pacific
  • 302 sites in 38 countries in Europe and North America
  • 130 sites in 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Features and components of  Biosphere Reserves

  • Core Area: This is the innermost and most strictly protected zone within a Biosphere Reserve. It is designated to conserve critical ecosystems, species, and habitats. Human activity in the core area is limited to non-destructive research and monitoring.
  • Buffer Zone: The buffer zone surrounds the core area and acts as a transitional zone between strict conservation and human activity. Here, activities are regulated to minimize negative impacts on the core area.
  • Transition Area: The transition area is the outermost zone of a Biosphere Reserve. It is where sustainable development practices are encouraged, and local communities are often involved in activities that promote both conservation and development.
  • Conservation Objectives: Biosphere Reserves have specific conservation objectives, such as protecting endangered species, preserving ecosystems, or maintaining biodiversity.
  • Scientific Research: Research and monitoring are important components of Biosphere Reserves. They provide valuable information for conservation efforts and sustainable development practices.
  • Local Communities: Engaging and involving local communities in the management and decision-making processes is a key aspect of Biosphere Reserves. This helps ensure that the needs and aspirations of the people living in or around the reserve are considered.
  • Cultural and Educational Activities: Biosphere Reserves often support cultural and educational initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and sustainable development.
  • UNESCO Designation: To become a Biosphere Reserve, an area must meet certain criteria and undergo a formal designation process by UNESCO. This designation indicates that the area is globally recognized for its efforts to balance conservation and development.
  • Global Network: There is a global network of Biosphere Reserves, and the program encourages collaboration and sharing of best practices among these sites.
  • Sustainable Development: A central goal of Biosphere Reserves is to demonstrate and promote models of sustainable development that can be replicated in other regions.

Zones of  Biosphere

Biosphere reserves have three unified zones that aim to fulfill three harmonizing and mutually reinforcing functions:

  • The core area:  It involves an entirely secured and protected ecosystem that contributes to the preservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.
  • The buffer zone: It encompasses or adjoins the core areas. It is utilized for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can fortify scientific research, monitoring, training, and education.
  • The transition area:  It is the part of the reserve where the greatest activity is permitted to promote economic and human development that is sustainable.

List of  Biosphere Reserves in India

Name of Biosphere Reserve Year of Notification Location (States)
Nilgiri 1986 Part of Wayanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley, and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka).
Nanda Devi 1988 Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar districts (Uttarakhand).
Nokrek 1988 Part of Garo Hills (Meghalaya).
Great Nicobar 1989 Southernmost islands of Andaman And Nicobar (A&N Islands).
Gulf of Mannar 1989 The Indian part of the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu).
Manas 1989 Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamprup, and Darang districts (Assam).
Sunderbans 1989 Part of the delta of Ganges and Brahmaputra river system (West Bengal).
Simlipal 1994 Part of the Mayurbhanj district (Orissa).
Dibru-Saikhowa 1997 Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts (Assam).
Dehang-Dibang 1998 Part of Siang and Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
Pachmarhi 1999 Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad, and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Khangchendzonga 2000 Parts of Khangchendzonga hills and Sikkim.
Agasthyamalai 2001 Neyyar, Peppara, and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries and their adjoining areas in Kerala.
Achanakamar –    Amarkantak 2005 Covers parts of Anupur and Dindori districts of M.P. and parts of Bilaspur districts of Chhattishgarh State.
Kachchh 2008 Part of Kachchh, Rajkot, Surendra Nagar, and Patan Civil Districts of Gujarat State.
Cold Desert 2009 Pin Valley National Park and surroundings; Chandratal and Sarchu & Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh.
Seshachalam Hills 2010 Seshachalam Hill Ranges covering parts of Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Panna 2011 Part of Panna and Chhattarpur districts in Madhya Pradesh.

List of  UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves

India has several Biosphere Reserves designated by UNESCO. Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems that promote the conservation of biodiversity while also facilitating sustainable development. These reserves are often seen as living laboratories for understanding and managing the complexities of ecosystems. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here are the Biosphere Reserves in India:

Year Name State
2000 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu
2001 Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu
2001 Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve West Bengal
2004 Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand
2009 Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh
2009 Nokrek Biosphere Reserve Meghalaya
2009 Simlipal Biosphere Reserve Odisha
2012 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Chhattisgarh
2013 Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve Great Nicobar
2016 Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve Kerala and Tamil Nadu
2018 Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve Part of North and West Sikkim districts
2020 Panna Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh

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By Team Learning Mantras