Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination thereof. BRs are designated to deal with one of the most important questions of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity, the quest for economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values. BRs are thus special environments for both people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each others’ needs.
Biosphere reserves are demarcated into following 3 inter-related zones:
There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in the country.
Date of Notification
Area (in km2)
Part of Wayanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka).
Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar districts (Uttarakhand).
Part of Garo hills (Meghalaya).
885 (Core 705 & Buffer 180)
Southern most islands of Andaman And Nicobar (A&N Islands).
Gulf of Mannar
Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu).
Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamprup and Darang districts (Assam)
Part of delta of Ganges and Brahamaputra river system (West Bengal).
Part of Mayurbhanj district (Odisha).
Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts (Assam)
Part of Siang and Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Parts of Khangchendzonga hills and Sikkim.
Part of Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvanthapuram, Kollam and Pathanmthitta districts in Kerala.
Achanakamar - Amarkantak
Covers parts of Anupur and Dindori districts of M.P. and parts of Bilaspur districts of Chhattishgarh State.
Part of Kachchh, Rajkot, Surendra Nagar and Patan Civil Districts of Gujarat State
Pin Valley National Park and surroundings; Chandratal and Sarchu&Kibber Wildlife Sancturary in Himachal Pradesh
Seshachalam Hill Ranges covering parts of Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh
Part of Panna and Chhattarpur districts in Madhya Pradesh
The UNESCO has introduced the designation ‘Biosphere Reserve’ for natural areas to minimize conflict between development and conservation. BRs are nominated by national government which meet a minimal set of criteria and adhere to minimal set of conditions for inclusion in the world network of Biosphere reserves under the Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme of UNESCO. Globally, there are 686 biosphere reserves in 122 countries, including 20 transboundary sites.
India has 11 internationally recognised BRs. They are as follows.
The Biosphere Reserve Programme is guided by UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme as India is a signatory to the landscape approach supported by MAB programme. A scheme called Biosphere Reserve is being implemented by Government of India since 1986, in which financial assistance is given in 90:10 ratio to the North Eastern Region States and three Himalayan states and in the ratio of 60:40 to other states for maintenance, improvement and development of certain items. The State Government prepares the Management Action Plan which is approved and monitored by Central MAB Committee.
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