Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity is the variability among living and non-living organisms and ecological complexes of which they are part, including diversity within and between species and ecosystems. Biodiversity has direct consumptive value in food, agriculture, medicine and industry. In the opinion of experts, the more diverse the species population (both in number of species and quantity of each species), the more risk is spread over the entire community, because several food sources exist at each trophic level. In other words, greater diversity in ecosystem results in greater stability.

Biodiversity Conservation in India

India has been divided into ten Bio-geographic zones and these zones together consist of 25 bio-geographic provinces. The aim is to designate one representative site as Biosphere Reserve in each bio-geographic zones for long term conservation.

The Bio-geographic zones of India area:

  • Trans-Himalayas
  • Himalayas
  • Desert (Thar)
  • Semi-arid
  • Western Ghats
  • Deccan Peninsula
  • Gangetic Plain
  • North East India
  • Islands
  • Coasts (Eastern and Western)

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves (BRs) are internationally designated landscape/seascape units under UNESCO’s flagship programme-‘Man and Biosphere (MAB)’. The Biosphere Reserves represent characteristic ecosystems in different bio-geographic regions and consider human communities as their integral component.


The objectives of Biosphere Reserves include:

(i) ensuring in-situ conservation (at all levels of biodiversity ranging from genes to ecosystem);

(ii) widening the understanding (through research and monitoring) of components of ecosystems; (iii) achieving integrated development (improved quality of life for indigenous communities living in and around) of the area.

The Biosphere Reserves are, therefore, sites for experimenting with and learning about sustainable development.

Considering the importance of such areas, a total of 580 units in 114 countries have been designated in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Out of the 18 Biosphere Reserves designated nationally, 9 Biosphere Reserves have been admitted to the World Network so far.

Biosphere Reserves of India on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves

S. No. Name States Year in which added
to World Network
1 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka 2000
2 Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu 2001
3 Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve West Bengal 2001
4 Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand 2004
5 Nokrek Biosphere Reserve Meghalaya 2009
6 Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh 2009
7 Simlipal Biosphere Reserve Odisha 2009
8 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh, Chhathisgarh 2012
9 Great Nicobar Andaman and Nicobar 2013

The Biosphere Reserves Programme was initiated in India in 1986 and till date, 18 sites have been designated as Biosphere Reserves (BR) in different parts of the country.

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