Biosphere Reserve & Panna Biosphere Reserve

Cold Desert (2009)

The Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve, the sixteenth Biosphere Reserve designated by the Government of India, represents various bio-physical features and unique values of Trans-Himalaya Desert ecosystems. The reserve is mostly dominated by the herbaceous and scrub vegetation. A very few small patches of trees, planted near the settlements, are also found. It covers the whole Spiti Forest Division and a few parts of Lahaul Forest Division i.e. Baralacha Pass, Bharatpur and Sarchu areas

The Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve falls in the Trans Himalayan Bio-geographic Zone, and mostly represents Tibetan Plateau Province in the State of Himachal Pradesh in India. The altitude ranges between 3300-6600 m above the sea level. The unique topography, severe climate and poor soils represent a typical Cold Desert Ecosystem.

The core zones (Pin Valley National Park, Kibber Wild Life Sanctuary and Chandratal Wildlife Sanctuary) of the reserve represent the completely protected site. Buffer and transition are manipulation zones where eco-development activities and eco-tourisms are encouraged. In general, the landscape comprises of glaciers, shrub-berries, thatches, plantation sites, settlement areas, agricultural land, wetlands and wastelands. The major occupation of the inhabitants include agriculture, horticulture and sheep rearing.

Spiti which forms the major part of the reserve, is locally pronounced as ‘Piti’ and is known as ‘middle country’ Piti, is also known as ‘fossil park of the world’. The Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve has conspicuous character of the vegetation. The vegetation is of dwarf size, long and massive root stock, inter-node suppression, succulent and spinescent. The notable shrubs are Juniperus shrubs

Cold Desert Biome is the home of highly adaptive threatened fauna. Among the mammalian fauna the Siberian ibex, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Snow leopard, Tibetan Wild Dog, Red Fox, Himalyan Weasel, Matren, Himalyan Hill Otter, Hare, Himalayan Marmot, Tibetan Wild Ass, Wooly Flying Squirrel, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Wolf, Picca, etc. are peculiar species of the reserve.

The biosphere reserve is also known for numerous birds, especially Lammergeyer, Himalayan Grion, Golden Ea gle, Chkar Patridges, Himalayan Snow Cock, Goldnch, Red Billed Chough, Blue Rock Pigeon, Jungle Crow, Brahminy Duck,, Yellow Headed Wagtail, etc.

Seshachalam (2010)

The Fisheshachalam Biosphere Reserve was designated in 2011. It is located in the Seshachalam Range of Eastern Ghats in Southern Andhra Pradesh. The indigenous communities of the reserve are attached to the area due to its religious and socio-cultural significance. The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkataswara is located on the seventh peak, (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill., and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarni. Being associated with bliss giving god Shiva and Vishnu- the entire area enjoys sacred status, especially for Hindus.

The important rare plants in the reserve include Dil lenia indica, Shrea- robusta. Thendangered plants of the biosphere reserve include Homalium Zeylanicum, Butea monosperma, etc. The fauna of the biosphere reserve includes Slender Loris, Indian Giant Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Golden Gecko, etc. Tigers, leopard, elephants, sloth bear, Indian wolf, wild boar, chinkara, four-horned antelope, chital ‘and sambar, ibex, pig, bonnet, jackal, fox, civet cat, lizards are some of the important animals commonly found in the area.

Panna (2010)

Designated as the 18th biosphere reserve, Panna is the most recently notified biosphere reserve of India. It was designated on 25th August, 2011. It lies partly in Bundelkhand (U.P.) and partly in Madhya Pradesh. The Panna Biosphere Reserve includes ecologically rich forest pockets, with dominance of dry deciduous forests. It makes the northern most boundary of natural distribution of teak, and the eastern limits of Kardhai forests. The entire area comprises of extremely diverse vegetation, ranging from sprawling grassland through mixed, pure stands of teak, Khair biosphere reserve has Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Siyah Gosh. In addition to these, there is tiger, a flagship species, which was considered almost wiped out from the area. In December 2010, two tigress along with one male tiger have been introduced from the nearby tiger reserves.

The area is rich in avian fauna. It has several types of vulture which are on the brink of extinction. The long billed vultures and white backed vultures are listed ‘Critically Endangered’. Crocodile and long snouted Crocodile both co-exist in Ken River. This is rare occurrence as both species are generally found separately. Khajuraho, famous for its unique chain of temples of Chandela Raj, located in the transition zone Panna Biosphere Reserve, provide ample scope for tourism.

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