Biosphere Reserve,National Park,Wildlife Sanctuary In India

India is a country of spectacular biodiversity.India  protects this mega-diversity through many Biosphere Reserve,National Park,Wildlife Sanctuary etc. In this article we will discuss the topics in detail.Let’s learn.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve,National Park,Wildlife Sanctuary In India

Do you Know?
India contributes almost 8% of the global biodiversity with only 2.4% of the world’s land area.

Before we jump into Biosphere Reserve,National Park,Wildlife Sanctuary etc let’s learn about protected area.

What is Protected Area?

Protected areas can be defined as an area where human occupation or the exploitation of natural resources like Carbon stocks, rain forests etc are restricted or limited.

Protected area also includes

  • Some area of ocean or lake or other water bodies.
  • Trans-boundary Protected Areas that is overlapped in between multiple countries.

Protected areas are further classified into several categories depending on the level of protection with regard to the enacted laws of concerned country or the guidelines of the international organizations involved.

  • National Park
  • Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Conservation Reserve
  • Community Reserve  
What are Biosphere Reserves?

Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems a combination of both.Biosphere reserves are the sites declared by various countries and recognized under UNESCO’s man and biosphere programme.

Significance of Biosphere Reserve
  • Biosphere reserves balance economic and social development.
  • Biosphere reserves promote cultural values along with the preservation of nature.
  • Biosphere reserves are the symbol of co-existence of people and nature.
  • Biosphere reserves are used for scientific research and monitoring.
  • Encourages sustainable development among the communities of the region.
Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO
  • Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme launched by UNESCO in 1971
  • The programme is focused to establish a scientific basis of relationships between human and environments.
  • World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) was formed under Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
  • The names of Biosphere reserves are nominated by various countries. If selected by UNESCO, they are included in the WNBR.
Structure of Biosphere Reserves

There are three zone of Biosphere reserve

Biosphere Reserve structure

  • Core is the protected area where no human activity are allowed. It is undisturbed and legally protected area.
  • Buffer Surrounds the core area.Cooperative educational activities and environmental research are allowed in this region. Eco-tourism are allowed in this region. Safari zone are allowed up to Buffer zone.
  • Transition zone is the area which allow variety of sustainable agricultural activities,human settlements are allowed and scientists,NGOs can work together to manage and explore the area’s biological resources.
List of Biosphere Reserves in India

There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India.

Biosphere Reserve in India

Biosphere Reserves and Focused FaunaState
Cold Desert-Snow LeopardHimachal Pradesh
Nanda Devi-Asiatic black Bear, snow Leopard, brown BearUttrakhand
Dehang-Debang-Mishmi takin, red Goral, musk deer,red PandaArunachal Pradesh
Manas-Golden langur and red pandaAssam
Dibru-Saikhowa-Golden langurAssam
Khangchendzonga-Snow Leopard,red PandaSikkim
Nokrek-Red PandaMeghalaya
Panna-Tiger,Chital,Chinkara,Sambhar and Sloth BearMadhya Pradesh
Pachmarhi-Giant and flying SquirrelMadhya Pradesh
Achanakmar-AmarkantakMadhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh
Kachchh-Indian wild AssGujarat
Similipal-Gaur,Royal Bengal Tiger,wIld ElephantOdisha
Seshachalam-Slender Loris and PangolinAndhra Pradesh
Sundarban-Royal Bengal TigerWest Bengal
Agasthyamala-Nilgiri Tahr,ElephantsKarnataka-Tamil Nadu-Kerala
Gulf of Mannar-Dugong or Sea cowTamil Nadu
Nilgiri –Nilgiri Tahr,lion tailed Macaque Tamil Nadu-Kerala-Karnataka
Great Nicobar-Saltwater CrocodileAndaman & Nicobar Island
What is the First Biosphere Reserve in India?
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Established on 1986)
What is the Smallest Biosphere Reserve in India?
Panna Biosphere Reserve
What is the Largest Biosphere Reserve in India?
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
What is a National Park?
  • An area can be defined by the state government as a National Park, by its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological or zoological association or importance, which is needed to be protected for the development of wildlife and the environment around.
  • National parks in India are listed under IUCN category II protected areas.
  • Activities like hunting, grazing, forestry or cultivation are strictly prohibited inside the national parks.
  • No human activity other than permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state, is not allowed.
Do you know?
India’s first national park was Hailey National Park, Uttarakhand which was established in 1936, now known as Jim Corbett National Park.
Do you know?
There are 104 national parks in India which cover almost 1.23% of the geographical area of the country. Source:National Wildlife Database, May 2019.
What was India's first Marine Wildlife Sanctuary?
Gulf of Kutch was established in 1980.
What was India's first Marine National Park?
Gulf of Kutch was designated as Marine National Park in 1982.
Marine National Parks in India

  1. Gulf of Kutch Marine National Park in Gujarat.
  2. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in Andaman Islands.
  3. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in Tamil Nadu.
  4. Rani Jhansi Marine National Park in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
What is the oldest National Park of the world?
Yellowstone National Park in USA
What is the largest National Park of the world?
East Greenland National Park,Greenland
What is a Wildlife Sanctuary?

Any area other than reserve forest or the territorial water body can be designated as a sanctuary by the concerned state government if such area is of significant ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological importance,which is needed to be protected for the development of wildlife and the environment around.

Do You Know?
There are 551 wildlife sanctuaries in India.Source:National Wildlife Database, May 2019.
Do You Know?
There are 870 protected areas in India. Source:National Wildlife Database, May 2019.
Know the Difference Between the National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve.
National ParkWildlife SanctuaryBiosphere Reserve
1.Full habitat is protectedA species is protectedEntire Ecosystem is protected
2.Boundaries are circumscribed by legislationBoundaries are sacrosanct or inviolableBoundaries are circumscribed by legislation
3.Limited biotic interferenceLimited biotic interferenceNo biotic interference except the buffer zone
4.Tourism is allowedTourism is allowedTourism is not but Eco-Tourism is allowed up to buffer zone.
5.Research and Scientific culture is not focusedResearch and Scientific culture is not focusedResearch and Scientific culture is managed
6.Gene Pool and conservation is not carried out.Gene Pool and conservation is not carried out.Gene Pool and conservation is carried out.


What are Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves?

Conservation reserves and community reserves are the areas completely owned by Government of India and these areas act as migration corridors between existing national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and  protected forests areas of India.

Conservation of Wildlife in India
  • The Government of India enacted the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 to protect the wildlife within the country and to curb and restrict poaching, smuggling and illegal trade in various protected areas across the country.
  • A National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has been established in 1952. NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister of India. NBWL was set up for a policy framework for wildlife conservation in the country.The NBWL operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) was launched in 2002. The National Wildlife Action Plan encourages the people’s participation and support for wildlife conservation. The National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) also formulates a policy that links wildlife planning to climate change.

  • The subject of forests and wildlife is included in the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution,drawing the responsibility of wildlife conservation on both the Centre and the State.

  • Various Projects focused on specific species were launched like Project Tiger (1973) ,Operation Crocodile (1975), Project Rhinoceros (1987), Project Elephant (1988) Project Snow Leopard (2009)
Some Current Affairs on National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in 2020
  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Assam is in news due to a well of Oil India Limited had blown out and a massive fire engulfed the area killing and affecting the flora and fauna of the region.
  • Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha is in news as census result cited that the population of salt water (or estuarine) crocodiles have increased.
  • Manas National Park in Assam is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site. It is a  Project tiger reserve and a biosphere reserve.India, Bhutan, Nepal will jointly work on a trans Border Conservation Park. The park will be an extension of Manas National Park.
  • Eravikulam National Park in Idukki, Kerala. At least 18 persons were killed and 52 others are missing in a landslips at Pettimudy, near Eravikulam National Park.
  • Assam government will convert the Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary to national park.
  • Kaziranga National Park in Assam is famous for One-horned rhino.
  • The Uttarakhand govt has already cleared diversion of 70 hectares of forest land area in the Gangotri National Park for construction of strategically important roads up to China border.
  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu is in news as rejuvenation camp for elephants was started.
  • An environment clearance was approved to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train corridor or the ‘bullet train project’ which will pass through the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai,Maharashtra.
  • Sariska Wild life Sanctuary is in news as Dekho Apna Desh webinar was titled ‘Destination- Sariska Tiger Reserve’ was launched in Rajasthan.
Some GK Questions Based on National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuary in India
National Chambal Sanctuary is famous for which animals?
Gangetic dolphin and also for magar (Crocodile) and Gharial (Alligator).
Which National Park is the only for the nearly extinct Asiatic Lions in India?
Gir National Park in Gujarat
Which National Park is the natural habitat of Kashmiri Stag?
Dachigam National Park in Kashmir.
Which National Park is the largest national park in India?
Hemis National Park in Ladakh.
Which National Park is the smallest national park in India?
Guindy National Park in Tamil Nadu.
Where is Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary?
Rann of Kutch,Gujarat
Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is located in which state?
West Bengal

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