Indian Geography : Biosphere


Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which are internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme. The world’s major ecosystem types and landscapes are represented in this network. Biosphere reserves are multi-purpose protected areas to preserve the genetic diversity in representative eco-systems. Conserve diversity and integrity of plants, animals and micro-organisms; Promote research on ecological conservation and other environmental aspects and Provide facilities for education, awareness and training. So far, fifteen Biosphere Reserves have been set up. They are: (i) Nilgiri; (ii) Nanda Devi; (iii) Nokrek; (iv) Great Nicobar; (v) Gulf of Mannar; (vi) Manas; (vii) Sunderbans; (viii) Similipal and (ix) Dibru Saikhowa (x) Dehong Deband and (xi) Panchmarhi.(xii) Kanchanjunga (xiii) Augustyamalai (xiv) Achanhakmaar (Amar Kantak) and (xv) Kutch notified on January, 29, 2008.


Most of the wetlands in India are directly or indirectly linked with major river systems such as Ganga, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapti, Godavari, Krishna, Cauveri, etc.

Mangroves are salt-tolerant forest ecosystems found mainly in the tropical and sub-tropical inter-tidal regions of the world. They are reservoirs of a large number of plant and animal species associated together over a long evolutionary period and exhibiting remarkable capacity for salt tolerance. They stabilise the shoreline and act as a bulwark against encroachments by the sea. In India, Mangroves are the 5% of the world total and total area covered by them is 4500 sq km.

Four coral areas, Gulf of Mannar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands and Gulf of Kutch have been identified for conservation and management. State-level steering committees have been constituted for the formulation and implementation of management action plans. Such action plans have been sanctioned for Andaman and Nicobar and Gulf of Mannar coral reefs so far. Total area covered by coral reefs in India is 2375 sq km.

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