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Biosphere Reserve – an overview

Biosphere Reserve – an overview

How Is a Biosphere Reserve Declared?             

  • Biosphere reserves are declared by the state or central governments by notification. Unlike national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves are not created under any law.
  • Once established, the national governments can nominate them under the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme. This Programme was launched in 1971.
  • If UNESCO accepts the proposal, the biosphere reserve would enter the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under the MAB Programme.
  • Within this network, exchanges of information, experience and personnel are facilitated.
  • The Department of Environment is a nodal agency for biosphere reserve programmes.
  • It carries out detailed scientific investigation, maps the biogeographical regions and vegetation types and identifies the critical areas.          Biosphere Reserve – an overview
  • The Botanical Survey of India and Zoological Survey of India assist in this work.
  • The central government assumes the responsibility of meeting the costs of the set up, while the state government would set up a desired machinery.

World Network of Biosphere Reserves

  • In order to facilitate sharing of research results among biosphere reserves, the biosphere reserves admitted into the international network of biosphere reserves under UNESCO’s MAB Programme.
  • This network consists of more than 600 biosphere reserves in 117 countries.
  • A biosphere reserve is included in the WNBR subject to the fulfillment of the criteria.
  • It is required to undertake research on flora and fauna and engage in knowledge sharing with other biosphere reserves.                    Biosphere Reserve – an overview

Biosphere Reserves in India Recognised under MAB Programme

  1. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (latest to be recognised in 2016)
  2. Nilgiri
  3. Gulf of Mannar
  4. Sundarbans
  5. Nanda Devi
  6. Nokrek
  7. Pachmarhi
  8. Similipal
  9. Achanakmar-Amarkantak
  10. Great Nicobar.

Difference between Biosphere Reserves and Other Protected Areas Such As National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

  1. Biosphere reserves are large in size, while national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are comparatively smaller in size. Some national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are a part of biosphere reserves.
  2. Biosphere reserves emphasise on the conservation of the overall ecosystem rather than some specific important species.                          Biosphere Reserve – an overview
  3. Biosphere reserves emphasise on the preservation of the traditional way of living of local communities. Such emphasis is less in other protected areas.

Biosphere reserves are different from other protected areas in their emphasis on the research of flora and fauna.

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Environment & Biodiversity

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