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Biosphere Reserves in India

Biosphere Reserves are the UNESCO designated sites located in different countries. These sites can be large areas extending over marine or terrestrial ecosystems or combination of both. The main purpose of Biosphere reserve is to conserve the biodiversity of the region and at the same time balance the social and economic development while upholding the associated cultural values. The first Biosphere reserve in India that was established in 1986, was Nilgiri Biosphere reserve. The largest Biosphere reserve in India is Kachchh Biosphere reserve. The smallest Biosphere reserve in India is Dibru-Saikhowa.

The concept of Biosphere Reserve was started by UNESCO in 1971. Biosphere reserves can be declared either by the state or central governments by notification. After its establishment as a biosphere reserve, the Governments can nominate it to be listed under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. A Biosphere reserve is partitioned into 3 zones namely, Core Zone, Buffer Zone and Transition Zone.

List of Biosphere Reserves in India

The total Biosphere reserves in India are 18 in number. The following sequence shows the list of Biosphere Reserves in India. The Biosphere Reserves are arranged from North to South.

    Sl. No. Biosphere Reserve Name Location
    1 Cold Desert Himachal Pradesh
    2 Nanda Devi Uttarakhand
    3 Dihang-Dibang Arunachal Pradesh
    4 Khangchendzonga Sikkim
    5 Manas Assam
    6 Dibru-Saikhowa Assam
    7 Sunderbans West Bengal
    8 Nokrek Meghalaya
    9 Pachmarhi Madhya Pradesh
    10 Panna Madhya Pradesh
    11 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
    12 Kachchh (largest in area) Gujarat
    13 Simlipal Odisha
    14 Seshachalam Hills Andhra Pradesh
    15 Nilgiri Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
    16 Gulf of Mannar Tamil Nadu
    17 Agasthyamalai Kerala and Tamil Nadu
    18 Great Nicobar Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Of the 18 Biosphere reserves in India, 12 Biosphere reserves are recognized internationally under the WNBR, based on the UNESCO's MAB Programme. They are Nilgiri, Gulf of Mannar, Sunderban, Nanda Devi, Nokrek, Pachmarhi, Similipal, Achanakmar - Amarkantak, Great Nicobar, Agasthyamalai, Khangchendzonga and Panna Biosphere Reserves. Panna is the latest entrant to the list.