Complete list of Biosphere reserves in India[Free PDF]

By Abhishek Jain |Updated : June 6th, 2022

Hello Students, In this article, we are providing you with comprehensive notes on the criteria of biosphere reserves, the structure of biosphere reserves, and a complete list of biosphere reserves in India. The topic is extremely useful for all state PCS examinations. You can also download the free PDF in both Hindi and English at the end of the article.


 Biosphere reserves in India

What is the Biosphere Reserve?

  • ‘Biosphere Reserves’ are designated natural sites, comprising terrestrial or marine or coastal or combined ecosystems, which promote the conservation of biodiversity and minimize the conflict between development and nature conservation.
  • ‘Biosphere Reserve’ is originally an international concept. It was introduced by the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO in Nov.1971 for the first time.

Criteria of the Biosphere Reserve

  • A site must contain protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
  • Core zone should be large enough to sustain viable populations representing all Tropic levels in the ecosystem.
  • Management authorities to ensure local community involvement to bring the variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development while managing and containing the conflicts.
  • Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of the environment.

Structure of the Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere reserves are demarcated into following three zones.

1. Core Zone

  • This zone is the heart and soul of the Biosphere Reserve.
  • The core contains the maximum diversity of numerous plants and animals which are endemic to the region.
  • Most of the times, Core part is the legally protected area like the National park, sanctuaries under Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
  • Management and research activities are allowed to some extent without affecting ecological diversity and wildlife.
  • Activities like grazing, human settlement are not allowed in the core zone. So it is always free from human encroachment.

2. Buffer Zone

  • Buffer zone surrounds core zone. It acts like the blanket to the core part.
  • In Buffer zone, some activities like Grazing, fishing, research, tourism are allowed under strict regulations without affecting ecological diversity.

3. Transition Zone

  • This zone is the outermost cover of the biosphere reserve.
  • This zone contains least diversity and density of animal and trees.
  • It is an example of ‘Human- Nature Coexistence’.
  • This zone includes human settlements, agriculture, forests etc.

Functions of Biosphere Reserve

  • There are tripartite i.e. three main functions of the biosphere reserve given follow
  1. Conservation
  • Conservation of diversity and integrity of plants and animals within natural ecosystems
  1. Development
  • Sustainable use of natural resources for the Cultural, Social, Economic development of local community
  1. Logistics Support
  • Provide areas and facilities for multi-faceted research and monitoring

List of Biospheres in India

  • Currently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India.
  • The list of Biosphere Reserves in India notified chronologically, is given below.
  1. Nilgiri Biosphere
  • This is the first Biosphere of India notified in 1986.
  • This spreads over three states Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
  1. Nanda Devi
  • This lies in Uttarakhand state.
  1. Nokrek
  • This biosphere lies in the Garo hills of Meghalaya state.
  1. Great Nicobar
  • This is the only biosphere reserve in India that entirely lies in the Union territory i.e. Andaman and Nicobar
  1. Gulf of Mannar
  • It lies in the Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka i.e. in Tamil Nadu state.
  1. Manas
  • It spreads over part of Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Nalbari districts of Assam.
  1. Sundarban
  • It lies in part of delta system of Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in West Bengal state.
  1. Simplipal
  • It lies in part of Mayurbhanj district of Orissa state.
  1. Dibru-Saikhowa
  • It spreads over Dibrugarh and Tinsukhia districts of Assam.
  1. Dehang- Dibang
  • It spreads over part of Siang and Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh state.
  1. Pachmarhi
  • It lies in central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
  1. Khangchendzonga
  • It is part of Sikkim state and it is the only mixed heritage site in UNESCO’s world heritage sites list.
  1. Agasthyamalai
  • It spreads over eastern part of Kerala state.
  • Neyyar, Peppara and Shendurney wildlife sanctuaries are part of this biosphere.
  1. Achanakamar- Amarkantak
  • It spreads over Dindori, Anupur districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bilaspur districts of Chhattisgarh state.
  1. Kachchh
  • It lies in the desert area of Gujarat state.
  1. Cold Desert
  • It spreads over Himachal Pradesh state. Pin Valley National Park and surroundings, Chandratal and Sarchu & Kibber wildlife sanctuaries are part of this biosphere.
  1. Seshachalam Hills
  • It lies in the Andhra Pradesh district.
  1. Panna
  • It is the latest added biosphere in 2011.
  • It lies in Madhya Pradesh state.


Out of these 18 biosphere reserves from India, there are 11 biosphere reserves which are internationally recognised under World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme of UNESCO.

Man And Biosphere (MAB) Programme

  • MAB programme was launched in 1971.
  • It is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between nature and human.
  • Biosphere Reserves are nominated by the national government for inclusion in the world network of biospheres.
  • Then the committee of MAB programme recognises the BRs after fulfilling the criteria.
  • There are currently 669 sites in 120 countries in World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme.
  • Out of these, 10 BRs are from India.

List of Biosphere reserves in MAB Programme

  1. Nilgiri Biosphere- Oldest entry from India in the list in 2000
  2. Gulf of Mannar
  3. Sundarban
  4. Nanda Devi
  5. Nokrek
  6. Simplipal
  7. Pachmarhi
  8. Achanakamar- Amarkantak
  9. Great Nicobar
  10. Agasthyamalai- Latest entry from India in the list in 2016
  11. Khangchendzonga- Added in 2018

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