Amrit Mahotsav


List of Biosphere reserves in India

List of Biosphere reserves in India:They are protected areas that are meant for the conservation of natural plants and animals. They play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of the earth. UNESCO launched the program of biosphere reserve network in 1971.To protect larger areas of natural habitat, the Indian government has established 18 biosphere reserves in India.

Mongolia’s Khuvsgul Lake National Park has been added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The lake is located near the Russian border in the Northern Mongolian province of Khuvsgul.


UNESCO has approved the creation of 11 new biosphere reserves in nine countries, including three new countries: Chad, Georgia, and Zambia. In addition, two existing biosphere reserves in Spain have been expanded. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves now has 738 sites in 134 countries, thanks to the new designations.

This article will also be very useful for those preparing for UPSC, SSC, CUET, and other exams because many questions about biosphere reserves are asked in competitive exams.

You should know that Biosphere reserves are not only for the protection of flora and fauna but also for human communities. In today’s post, we are going to provide all the necessary details related to the Biosphere Reserves in India.

List of Biosphere Reserves in India

As mentioned above there are 18 Biosphere reserves in India. The list of the same is given below.

Name of the Biosphere ReservesStateYearArea (sqkm)
Nilgiri Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka19865520
Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveUttarakhand19885860
Gulf of MannarTamil Nadu198910500
SundarbansWest Bengal19899630
Dihang-DibangArunachal Pradesh19985112
Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh19994982
Achanakmar-Amarkantak BiosphereMadhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh20053835
Great Rann of KutchGujarat200812454
Cold DesertHimachal Pradesh20097770
Khangchendzonga National ParkSikkim20002620
Agasthyamalai Biosphere ReserveKerala, Tamil Nadu20013500
Great Nicobar Biosphere ReserveAndaman and Nicobar Islands1989885
Seshachalam HillsAndhra Pradesh2010475
PannaMadhya Pradesh20112999

List of biosphere reserve of India are recognized by UNESCO: International Status of Biosphere Reserves (BR)

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves includes 12 of the 18 biosphere reserves listed by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. The following is a list of UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves in India in 2022.

Criteria for BR designation

  • A site that contains an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of conservation value.
  • The core area should be representative of a bio-geographical unit and large enough to support viable populations from all trophic levels in the ecosystem.
  • The management authority to ensure local community involvement/cooperation in bringing a variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development while managing and containing conflicts.
  • Potential areas for the preservation of traditional tribal or rural ways of life for the harmonious use of the environment

Structure and functions of the BR Biosphere Reserves are divided into three interconnected zones:

  • Core Zone: The core zone must provide suitable habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species, including higher order predators, and may contain endemism centres. Core areas frequently conserve the wild relatives of economically important species and also serve as important genetic reservoirs of exceptional scientific interest. A core zone is a National Park or Sanctuary that is protected or regulated primarily under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. While acknowledging that perturbation is a component of ecosystem functioning, the core zone must be kept free of external human pressures.
  • Buffer Zone: The buffer zone adjoins or surrounds the core zone, and uses and activities are managed in this area to help protect the core zone in its natural state. These uses and activities include restoration, demonstration sites for increasing the value of the resources, limited recreation, tourism, fishing, grazing, and so on, all of which are permitted to reduce the impact on the core zone. Research and educational activities will be promoted. Human activities, if natural within BR, are likely to continue as long as they do not harm ecological diversity.
  • Transition Zone: A biosphere reserve’s transition zone is its most remote location. This is a zone of cooperation where conservation knowledge and management skills are applied and uses are managed in accordance with the purpose of the biosphere reserve. This includes the region’s settlements, crop lands, managed forests, and areas for intensive recreation, as well as other economic uses.

Biosphere conservation

India is a signatory to the landscape approach backed by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme, which serves as the guiding force behind the Biosphere Reserve Program. The Government of India has been operating a programme known as the Biosphere Reserve since 1986, in which financial support is given to the states of the North Eastern Region and the three Himalayan states in a ratio of 90:10 and to other states in a ratio of 60:40 for the upkeep, development, and improvement of specific items. The Management Action Plan is created by the State Government and is authorised and followed by the Central MAB Committee.

Name of the Biosphere ReservesLocationYear
Nilgiri Biosphere ReservePart of Waynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley2000
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere ReserveIndian part of Gulf of Mannar extending from Rameswaram island in the north to Kanyakumari in the south of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka2001
Sundarbans Biosphere ReservePart of delta of Ganges and Brahmaputra river system2001
Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveParts of Chamoli District, Pithoragarh District & Bageshwar District2004
Nokrek Biosphere ReserveIn west Garo Hills2009
Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveParts of Betul District, Hoshangabad District and Chhindwara District2009
Simlipal Biosphere ReservePart of Mayurbhanj district2009
Great Nicobar Biosphere ReserveSouthernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands2013
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere ReservePart of Annupur, Dindori and Bilaspur districts2012
Agasthyamalai Biosphere ReserveNeyyar, Peppara and Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary and their adjoining areas2016
Khangchendzonga National ParkParts of Kangchenjunga2018
Panna Biosphere ReservePart of Panna and Chhattarpur districts in Madhya Pradesh2020

Potential Biosphere Reserves in India

The Ministry of Forests and Environment has identified the following potential sites for Biosphere Reserves:

  • Abujmarh – Chhattisgarh
  • Andaman and Nicobar – North Islands
  • Chintapalli – Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh
  • Kanha – Madhya Pradesh
  • Kovalam – Kerala
  • Lakshadweep Islands – Lakshadweep
  • Little Rann of Kutch – Gujarat
  • Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) – Mizoram
  • Namdapha – Arunachal Pradesh
  • Singhbhum – Jharkhand
  • Tawang and West Kameng – Arunachal Pradesh
  • Thar Desert – Rajasthan
  • Tadoba National Park and Sanjay Gandhi National Park – Maharashtra

FAQ for Competitive Exams

Largest Biosphere Reserve in India?

Answer: Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat is the largest Biosphere Reserve in India.

Smallest Biosphere Reserve in India?

Answer: Dibru – Saikhowa in Assam is the smallest Biosphere Reserve in India.

First Biosphere Reserve in India?

Answer: The first Biosphere Reserve in India is the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (part of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka).

Difference between a national park and a biosphere reserve?

National parks are created to protect public lands from industrialization, human exploitation, and pollution. A biosphere reserve, on the other hand, is a designated area for the conservation of the biosphere’s resources and the improvement of man’s relationship with the environment.

Distribution of Biosphere reserves across the world?

The distribution of Biosphere reserves across the world’s continents is shown below.

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

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