List of Biosphere Reserves in India

By Naveen Singh|Updated : April 2nd, 2020

Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important topics in General Awareness. Many students find it difficult on how to go about solving questions from this topic. For this one needs to have a thorough knowledge of the subject. To simplify the subject we are have divided the subject into smaller topics and are providing you with the notes for the same. These notes will help you revise effectively. 

List of 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 minimizes the conflict between the development and nature conservation.
  • ‘Biosphere Reserve’ is originally an international concept. It was introduced by 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 a 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 the core zone. It acts like the blanket to the core part.
  • In the 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 the 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

Biosphere Reserves in India

SI No.





Key Fauna

1Rann of Kutch2008GujaratDesertIndian Wild Ass
2Gulf of Mannar1989Tamil NaduCoastalDugong (Sea Cow)
3Sundarbans1989West BengalGangetic DeltaRoyal Bengal Tiger
4Cold Desert2009Himachal PradeshWestern HimalayasSnow Leopard
5Nanda Devi1988UttarakhandWestern HimalayasNA
6Nilgiris1986Tamil Nadu, Kerala & KarnatakaWestern GhatsNilgiri Tahr, Lion-tailed Macaque
7Dihang-Dibang1998Arunachal PradeshEastern HimalayasNA
8Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve1999Madhya PradeshSemi-AridGiant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel
9Seshachalam Hills2010Andhra PradeshEastern GhatsNA
10Simlipal1994OdishaDeccan PeninsulaGaur, Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild elephant
11Achanakamar -Amarkantak2005Madhya Pradesh & ChhattisgarhMaikala HillsNA
12Manas1989AssamEastern HimalayasGolden Langur, Red Panda
13Khangchendzonga2000SikkimEastern HimalayasSnow Leopard, Red Panda
14Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve2001Kerala & Tamil NaduWestern GhatsNilgiri Tahr, Elephants
15Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve1989Andaman and Nicobar IslandsIslandSaltwater Crocodile
16Nokrek1988MeghalayaEastern HimalayasRed Panda
17Dibru-Saikhowa1997AssamEastern HimalayasGolden Langur
18Panna2011Madhya PradeshKen RiverTiger, Chital, Chinkara, Sambharand Sloth bear

Here is a map to give you the location of these Biosphere Reserves in India:


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

Here is a PDF for the same in English:

List of Biosphere Reserves in India (English PDF)

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