Most Comprehensive list of Biosphere Reserves In India [2021] MAP

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Firstly, there are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India, among which 12 Biosphere reserves in India find their place in UNESCO’s List of Man & Biosphere Reserves Programme. This article contains the Map of all the Biosphere reserves in India. The table below shows the exact details about every Biosphere Reserve in India and its year of formation and the biosphere reserve area.
The 12 UNESCO Biosphere reserve map is also shown, and all these 12 Biospheres are covered in detail below. Happy Learning!

Biosphere Reserves in India

S.NoName of BiosphereYear of NotificationArea (sq. km.)Location
1Nilgiri19865520Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
2Nanda Devi 19885860Uttarakhand
3Nokrek 1988820Meghalaya
4Great Nicobar 1989885A&N Islands
5Gulf of Mannar198910500Tamil Nadu
7Sunderbans19899630West Bengal
10Dehang-Dibang19985111Arunachal Pradesh
11Pachmarhi19994926Madhya Pradesh
14Achanakamar - Amarkantak20053835Madhya Pradesh and Chhattishgarh State
16Cold Desert20097770Himachal Pradesh
17Seshachalam Hills20104755Andhra Pradesh
18Panna20112998Madhya Pradesh
UNESCO biosphere reserve in india

12 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in India

S.NoName of BiosphereYear of designation by UNESCOArea sq. Km.Location
1Nilgiri20005520Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
2Gulf of Mannar200110500Tamil Nadu
3Sunderbans20019630West Bengal
4Nanda Devi 20045860Uttarakhand
5Nokrek 2009820Meghalaya
6Pachmarhi20094926Madhya Pradesh
8Achanakamar - Amarkantak20123835Madhya Pradesh & Chhattishgarh State
9Great Nicobar 2013885A&N Islands
11Khangchendzonga 20182619Sikkim
12Panna20202998Madhya Pradesh


What is Biosphere

The biosphere includes all the living components of the earth. It consists of all plants and animals, including all the micro Organisms that live on the planet earth and their interactions with the surrounding environment.
Most of the organisms exist on the lithosphere, the hydrosphere as well as in the atmosphere. There are also many organisms that move freely from one realm to the other. All these together constitutes the Biosphere.

How many biosphere reserves are there in India

There are total 18 Biosphere reserves in India from which 12 are also part of UNESCO Man & Biosphere Programme.

Biosphere reserves

  • Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries to protect and preserve them. Biosphere reserves in India are first notified by India government and Later Some of them are recognized by UNESCO under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science.
  • UNESCO initiated the programme of Biosphere Reserve in 1971.
  • The Objective of the formation of the biosphere reserves is to conserve in situ all forms of life, along with their support Platform, in totality. Hence, it May serves as a referral system for monitoring and evaluating changes in Organic ecosystems. The first biosphere reserve of the world was established in 1979; since then System of biosphere reserves has Risen to 631 in 119 countries Around the World.
  • UNESCO definition of Biosphere reserve

Role of Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves involves the local communities and all other interested stakeholders in planning and management. Biosphere Reserves in India or any part of world are formed to achieve three main “functions”:
1. Conservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity inside the reserve.
2. Economic development of the reserve that is socio-culturally and environmentally sustainable.
3. To provide Logistic support, and achieve development through research, monitoring, education and training.

  • Biosphere reserves aim to attain integrated management of land, marine and fresh waters and living resources by placing bioregional planning schemes based on incorporating conservation to development through proper zoning of the reserve areas into three parts.
  • While countries maintain flexibility at the federal levels concerning the definition of zones, but through integrated zonation and collaborative management, the zonation needs to ensure that biosphere reserves effectively unite these three components:
    • conservation, 
    • sustainable utilization of tools 
    • knowledge generation

Zoning Schemes

The zonation of each biosphere reserve in India or any other Biosphere reserve should include:

zones of biosphere reserve
zones of biosphere reserve

Core area

  • Human interference in the core area is restricted
  • The core area of Biosphere Reserves generally consists of national parks and sanctuaries protected under the wildlife protection act 1972.
  • Core areas of the biosphere reserve are securely protected sites for conserving biological diversity. Monitoring these minimally disturbed ecosystems and undertaking non-destructive research and other low-impact uses such as education. 
  • In addition to its conservation function, the core area of the reserves contributes to a range of ecosystem services, e.g. carbon sequestration, supply of clean water and air, soil stabilization. 

Buffer zone

  • Buffer zone generally surrounds or adjoins the core regions and can be used for activities compatible with sound environmental practices, such as
    • environmental education, 
    • recreation, 
    • Ecotourism
    • applied and basic research. 
  • The buffer zone of the biosphere reserve also has a critical connectivity function in a larger spatial context as they connect biodiversity components within core areas with those in transition areas.
  • Buffer zones also have intrinsic functions of maintaining anthropogenic, biological, and cultural diversity in the biosphere reserves. 

Transition area 

  • It is the outermost area of the Biosphere Reserves.
  • Transition Area plays a central function in sustainable development. Transition Areas may contain a variety of agricultural activities, settlements, and other uses. 
  • Local communities, management agencies, scientists, NGOs, cultural groups, and other stakeholders work together to manage and sustainably develop the area’s resources.

Now Lets see Important Biosphere Reserves in India one by one-

Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve

Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve

Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is located in the Himalayan Mountains in the northern part of India in Uttarakhand. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO recognised Biosphere reserve under Man & Biosphere Programme. The snow-clad peaks, along with the presence of over 30 glaciers and rare and endangered species of animals and birds, deep and vast valleys, meadows and rivers, makes the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve unique.

  • Surface: 6407.03 Sq. Km.
  • Core area(s): 712.12 Sq. Km.
  • Buffer zone(s): 5148.57 Sq. Km.
  • Transition zone(s): 546.34 Sq. Km.
  • Designation date by UNESCO: 2004 
  • Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is dispersed across three districts of Uttarakhand viz. Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar.

For Complete detail about this reserve click here :Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve

For Complete Article on National Parks in Uttarakhand click here: National Parks in Uttarakhand 

Panna Biosphere Reserve

panna biosphere reserve
panna biosphere reserve

There are a total of 3 Biosphere Reserves in Madhya Pradesh which are Panna Biosphere Reserve, Panchmari Biosphere Reserve and Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve.

  • Designation date as Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO: 2020
    • Core area(s) : 792.53 sq. Km.
    • Buffer zone(s) : 98720 sq. Km.
    • Tansition zone(s): 1219.25 sq. Km.
  • The Panna Biosphere Reserve in encompasses 
    • Panna National Park
    • Three sections of the Gangau wildlife Sanctuary (I, III and IV). 
    • The Reserved Forests of the North Panna Forest Division.
  • Panna National Park is also declared as Panna Tiger Reserve, on top of this, the entire area of Panna National Park and 3 parts of Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary have also been notified as Critical Tiger Habitat Area.

For Complete detail about this reserve click here: Panna Biosphere reserve

For Complete detail on Madhya pradesh National Park click here: National Parks in Madhya pradesh with Map

Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve

pachmarhi biosphere reserve
pachmarhi biosphere reserve
  • The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve covers three districts of Madhya Pradesh 
    • Hoshangabad, 
    • Betul  
    • Chhindwara 
  • The total area is 4987.38 sq. km. 
  • Designation Date of Pachmarhi Biosphere reserve by UNESCO: 2009 
  • It envelops three wildlife conservation units: 
    • Bori Sanctuary (485.72 sq. km), 
    • Satpura National Park (524.37 sq. km)
    • Pachmarhi Sanctuary (417.78 sq km)

For Complete detail about this reserve click here: Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve

For Complete detail on Madhya pradesh National Park click here: National Parks in Madhya pradesh with Map

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

Nilgiri biosphere reserve
Nilgiri biosphere reserve
  • Total area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve – 5,520 sq. km.
    • Core area(s): 1240 Sq. Km.
    • Buffer zone(s): 3574 Sq. Km.
    • Transition zone(s): 706 Sq. Km.
  • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve situated in parts of Tamilnadu, Kerala   and Karnataka. 
  • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was included in UNESCO World network of Biosphere Reserves in the year 2000.
  • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve have the distinction of being the first biosphere reserve in India.
  • It is located in the Western Ghats

For Complete detail about this reserve click here: Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Map

For Complete detail on Karnataka National Park click here: National Parks in Karnataka with Map

Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve

Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve
Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve
  • Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve is in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • This reserve is one of the less developed and least disturbed areas in both the states.
  • Declaration Date of inclusion in MAB programme of UNESCO: 2012
  • Core area(s): 551.50 sq. Km.
  • Buffer zone(s): 19558.75 sq. Km.

For Complete detail about this reserve click here: Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Map

Agasthyamalai Biosphere reserve

nilgiri hills
nilgiri hills
  • In 2016, the Agasthyamalai Biosphere reserve was included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves making it the 10th Biosphere Reserve on the list. 
  • It falls within the Indo-Malayan Realm and the Western Ghats biogeographic zone. 
  • This region is the traditional stronghold of ‘Kanis’, one of the oldest tribal groups living in the southern Western Ghats. 
  • This mountain peak is also of paramount spiritual and cultural significance for people in the states of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala and is an important pilgrim centre. 
  • The area has an elevation range between 100-1,866 m above mean sea level.
  • Agasthya koodam peak is the highest peak – 1869 mt. 
  • Other important peaks of Agasthyamala Hills are 
    • Chenmunjimottai -1717m  
    • Athirumala -1594m 
    • Varayattumottai -1081m 
    • Alwarkurichi -1550m
  • The southernmost reaches of the Western Ghats is the Agasthyamala Hills that extends from Mahendrgiri near Kanyakumari in the extreme south to the Ariyankavu (shenkottai) pass, near shenkottai. 
  • This is a compact range of hills with the main range, descending equally steeply to both the western and eastern sides.
  • The forest types of this region include southern hilltop evergreen forest, west coast tropical evergreen forest, west coast semi-evergreen forest, southern secondary moist mixed deciduous forest and reed brakes. 
  • The lower elevations (<600m) are dominated by mixed deciduous and semi-evergreen forests, and the zone 600-1,200 m is characterized by tropical evergreen forest. 
  • Southern hilltop evergreen forests and reed brakes occur near and above 1,200m. 
  • Higher elevations are marked by steep undulating terrains and the area receives 2,000-5,000 mm annual rainfall with only two to three dry months in a year. 
  • Besides the natural vegetation, these hill ranges also have vast stretches of tea, cardamom and rubber plantations
  • The best tropical moist forests in the Western Ghats are in this stretch. 
  • This contiguous stretch is unique in biodiversity, the important regions of the Agasthyamala Hills are
    • Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, 
    • Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, 
    • Ponmudi-Kallar Reserve Forests, 
    • Shankill Reserve Forests, 
    • Arippa Reserve Forests, 
    • Kulathupuzha Reserve Forests 
    • Shendumey Wildlife Sanctuary.

India Geographical Map with hills of Peninsular India


First biosphere reserve in India.

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the first biosphere reserve in India. GOI on 01.09.1986 declared it as India’s first biosphere reserve.

Oldest biosphere reserve in India.

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the oldest biosphere reserve in India. It was notified on 01.09.1986 as the first biosphere reserve in India. It shares its area between Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

How many biosphere in India.

There are 18 Biosphere reserves in India, in which 12 are also part of UNESCO MAB Programme.

Which is the smallest biosphere reserve in India?

According to Wildlife Institute of India sponsored by Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Govt of India, Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere reserve with an area of 765 sq. km. Is the smallest biosphere reserve in India.

Which Is the largest biosphere reserve in India?

Kachchh Biosphere reserve in Gujrat with an area of 12,454 sq. Km. Is the largest biosphere reserve in India

How many biosphere reserves are there in India in 2021?

There are 18 Biosphere reserves in India as of 2021, in which 12 are also part of UNESCO MAB Programme.

How many MAB are in India?

12 biosphere reserves out of total 18 biosphere reserves in India are part of UNESCO MAB Programme.

Biosphere reserves in india map
Biosphere reserves in india map

Remaining Biosphere Reserves in India will be updated soon in the article. Come Back to see More!

unesco world heritage sites
unesco world heritage sites

Checkout the Latest 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

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