Revision Notes: Biosphere Reserves in India

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : July 22nd, 2021

In every competitive exam including UPSC, some questions are directly asked from Biosphere Reserves in India. In this article, we will discuss the definition, criteria of Biosphere Reserve and the updated list of Biosphere Reserves in India.

What are Biosphere Reserves?

  • ‘Biosphere Reserves’ are designated natural sites, comprising terrestrial or marine or coastal or combined ecosystems.
  • Biosphere Reserves promote the conservation of biodiversity and minimizes the conflict between the development and nature conservation.
  • ‘Biosphere Reserve’ was introduced by MAB International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO in November 1971. 

Man And Biosphere (MAB) Programme

  • MAB is an intergovernmental scientific programme launched in 1971
  • Its objective is to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between nature and human.
  • Biosphere Reserves (BR) are nominated by the national government for inclusion in the world network of biospheres.
  • The committee of MAB programme recognises the BRs after fulfilling the criteria.
  • There are currently 714 sites in 129 countries in World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme.
  • Out of these, 12 Biosphere Reserves are from India.

Criteria for 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 trophic 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.

Core Zone

  • This zone is the heart and soul of the Biosphere Reserve.
  • The core contains the maximum diversity of various species which are endemic to the region.
  • Core zone 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.
  • Grazing, human settlement are not allowed in the core zone, which is always free from human encroachment.

Buffer Zone

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

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’, that means, human settlements, agriculture, forests etc. exist in this zone.

Functions of Biosphere Reserve

There are three main functions of the biosphere reserve:

  1. Conservation: Conservation of diversity and integrity of plants and animals within natural ecosystems
  2. Development: Sustainable use of natural resources for the Cultural, Social, Economic development of local community
  3. Logistics Support: Provide areas and facilities for multi-faceted research and monitoring

List of Biospheres in India

In India, there are 18 biosphere reserves, 12 of which are also part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme.

S. No.Biosphere Reserve in India Indian Biosphere Reserves in UNESCO MAB ProgramState
1Nilgiri Biosphere

Nilgiri Biosphere

Tamilnadu, Kerala & Karnataka

Gulf of Mannar

Gulf of Mannar




 West Bengal

Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi








8KhangchendzongaKhangchendzonga Sikkim
9Great Nicobar Great NicobarAndaman & Nicobar


Madhya Pradesh
11Achanakamar- Amarkantak Achanakamar- Amarkantak Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh
12Panna Panna (added in 2020)Madhya Pradesh
13Kachch -Gujarat
14Cold Dessert -Himachal Pradesh
15Seshachalam Hills -Andhra Pradesh
16Dehang-Dibhang  -Arunachal Pradesh
17Dibru-Saikhowa -Assam
18Manas -Assam


Posted by:

Sudheer Kumar KSudheer Kumar KMember since Sep 2020
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Naveena Devi

Naveena DeviJul 22, 2021

Sir we need economy related notes in daily  please
shikha yadav

shikha yadavJul 26, 2021

Sir plz hindi me bhi

PriyanjaliJul 26, 2021

Thank u so much sir... U r one of the best educator sir

AnnaJul 26, 2021

Your notes are so simple and easy to understand. Also this note is very easy to remember since it is provided in a step-by-step manner. Thank you so much sir.
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Vipin Kumar Gond
@Sudheer Kumar K Sir 🤗🤗 Thank You Sir 🤗🤗 Good Morning 🤗🤗 Have A Blessed Day Sir 🤗🤗🍎🍎
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