Biosphere Reserves are multipurpose protected areas to preserve the genetic diversity in representative ecosystems. Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal or marine ecosystems or its amalgamation. The biosphere reserve network was launched in 1976, two years after the initiation of MAB (Man and Biosphere) Programme. The Government of India had established 18 biospheres in the country.

Functions of Biosphere Reserves

Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions. The main objectives to establish them are:

  1. Conservation Function: To conserve diversity and integrity of the life of plants, animals and microorganisms
  2. Development Function: To promote eco-friendly sustainable life in the areas
  3. Logistic Support Function: To promote ecological conservation, research, education, awareness and training in the life of such areas.

Three Zones of Biosphere Reserves

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

  1. The core area: It involves an entirely secured and protected ecosystem that contributes to the preservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.
  2. The buffer area: 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.
  3. 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.

World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) covers globally chosen protected areas. It consists of a vibrant and interactive network of sites of distinction. It promotes the harmonious assimilation of people and nature for sustainable development through different ways. If a country declares any area as a biosphere reserve, it can nominate the same to under the UNESCO's Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme. If UNESCO accepts the proposal of the government, the biosphere reserve enters into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

10 of the 18 biosphere reserves in India are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves which is based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list

Biosphere Reserves in India

Biosphere reserves are announced by the state or central governments by notification. There are 18 biosphere reserves in India.

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