Dehang-Dibang, Khangchendzonga & Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve

Dehang-Dibang (1998)

The Dehang Dibang Biosphere Reserve declared by the Government of India in 1998 lies at the boundary of China, Myanmar and India. The Reserve is managed by the Department of Environment and Forest, Government of Arunachal Pradesh. The Siang River crosses this biosphere reserve ere are seven biomes in the Dehang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve:

(i) East Himalayan bamboo brakes forest (500-600m),

(ii) East Himalayan Sub-tropical broad leaves forest (1000-2100m),

(iii) East Himalayan sub-tropical pine forest (1200-1800),

(iv) East Himalayan temperate broad leaves forest (1800-2800 m),

(v) East Himalayan temperate conifer forest (2800-3500 m),

(vi) East Himalayan sub-alpine woody shrub forest (3500-5500 m), and

(vii) East Himalayan alpine meadow forest (3000-4000m).

Great Zebra, Red Breast Jezebel, Chocolate Albatross, Plain Tiger, Chestnut Tiger, Dark Catseye, Indian Red Admiral, Large Yeoman, Green Commodore, Angle Sunbeam, and a large number of fishes.

Khangchendzonga (2000)

Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim is an important conservation area with high ecological, floral, faunal, geomorphological and natural significance in the Indian Himalayan region. The region reserve was notified initially by the Government of India in the year 2000 and subsequently re notified in 2010. The core zone of KBR, as the �High Altitude National Park� a major transboundary area, represents unique habitat zone and high endemic biota. The Ringit, Rathong, Chu, College Khola etc. rivers/streams w through this biosphere reserve. It is producing Large Cardamom, rice, potato, peas, ginger and other horticulture crops. About 90 per cent of this biosphere reserve falls above 3000 m altitude., where as 70 per cent area is located above 4000 and the glaciers, perpetual snow and ice-sheets form 34 per cent land cover the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, which extends its western limit to the India-China boundary in the Lhonek Valley in north Sikkim and the India-Nepal boundary in west Sikkim, represents one of the richest diversities of flora and fauna the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve which has wide altitude range (1220-8586 m) supports diversity of forest types and habitats resulting in high species diversity and endemism. This biosphere reserve contains floral and faunal element to Palaearctic and Oriental regions. It lies partly within Sikkim Trans Himalaya (Cold Desert Steppe with Tibetan Sheep, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Antelope, Tibetan Wild Ass or Kiang) and largely within the biographic province of the Central Himalaya.

The vegetation mainly comprises of east Himalayan moist temperate forest, east Himalayan moist temperate forest, east Himalayan mixed coniferous, east Himalayan sub-alpine birch (Rhodonderon) forest, moist alpine scrub and alpine pastures. The eco-tourism is rapidly gaining popularity among first villages settled in hamlets close to the reserve boundaries and along the designated trekking routes of the biosphere reserve. Nepalese and Limboos having varied traditions are occupying the villages. The Lepcha is the most primitive tribe of Sikkim. The Nepalese society is a heterogeneous assemblage of castes.

Agasthyamalai (2001)

Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve was declared by the Government of India on 12th November 2001. The Biosphere Reserve sprawls over an area of 3500 sq km in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Agasthyarkoodam (1868 m) is the highest peak of the biosphere reserve. The Shendurney and Neyyar rivers traverses the biosphere reserve

The reserve hosts one of the most diverse ecosystems in Peninsular India and is known as one of the important �Hotspots� in the Western Ghats. It comprises of three wild sanctuaries namely-Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar and one Kalakad Mundanthural Tiger Reserve. The biosphere reserve is predominantly occupied by moist deciduous, semi-evergreen, evergreen, shola grasslands, and specialized ecosystems such as reed brakes, myristica swamps, riparian vegetation, etc.

This region, in addition to Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, protects two endangered species namely Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed Macaque. The reserve harbours an endemic tree Gluta travancorica locally known as �Chenkurinji� in Shendurney Valley. The presence of other wild animals like elephants, mongoose, tiger, leopard, bear, sambar, Nilgiri-langur, Malabar giant squirrel, gaur, king cobra, etc. In addition, 600 medicinal plants and more than 100 economically important species of plants and trees occur in this area.

New species like Ceylone frogmouth, forest eagle owl, brown wood owl, short -toed eagle, yellow-cheeked tit, etc. are also reported from the biosphere reserve. The above mentioned flora and faunal species are of conservational importance and by harbouring them the biosphere reserve is contributing significantly to the global biodiversity pool. The reserve is also a natural house for indigenous population known as �Kani Tribals� who live and practice their customs over centuries. Their traditional knowledge on medicinal plants is well acknowledged by developing a immune enhance drug by TBGRI from local medicinal plant.

Kachchh (2008)

The Kachchh Biosphere Reserve, the eleventh biosphere reserve designated by the Government of India, presents a unique combination of saline deserts, namely Great Rann of Kachchh and Little Rann of Kachchh and seasonal wetlands. The Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kachchh constitute major portion of the reserve. Vast area of mud-at of the Rann is almost at sea-level. Altitudinal variation is contributed by islands that dot the vast mud at area. The highest peak of Pachchham Island in Great Rann is 458 m above the sea level. It is located in the Indian Desert Biosphere zone.

The Great Rann has been tectonically unstable since historical times. Tectonism was very effective as late as 1819 when a major earthquake finally destroyed the Indus River connection with the Kori Creek. This earthquake in 1819 gave rise to the �Allah Bund� a linear mound-like formation that 5 – 10 m high and about 50 km long. The Allah Bund brought about many significant changes in the landforms. The entire area derives its importance due to presence of various rare and endangered species. Some examples of threatened species are long-eared hedgehog, Indian gazelle, desert cat, caracal, Indian wolf, Indian ratel, and desert fox. Among the terrestrial birds of the biosphere reserve are the Macqueen Bustard a near threatened species, whereas White-rumped vulture and long billed Vulture are critically endangered. Several water birds like Painted Stork, Balck-headed Ibis, Dalmatian Palicans and Lesser Flamingo belong to one or the other categories of IUCN Red List of threatened species. Among the reptiles, threatened species include banded gecko, desert moitor, spiny-tailed lizard and black cobra.

As the mudats of the Rann remain under water for part of the year and exists as dry exposed land for rest of the year, the reserve is endowed with both aquatic and threatened terrestrial biota. Further, as it receives both freshwater and tidal water during the year, organisms adapted to both, inland and coastal waters occur here.

The Kachchh Desert Sanctuary is internationally famous for the largest and most oldest known nesting colony of the Greater Flamingo in the Indian Subcontinent. The nesting ground, well known as �Flamingo City� formed on the island �Andabet� is situated on the vast featureless expense of the Great Rann between Pachchham and Kadir islands. The nests cover several square of the Rann in this area. Apart from the signicance for the Flamingo breeding, the Great Rann portion of the reserve is known to have supported breeding of the Great White Pelican. The Great Rann portion of this biosphere reserve is also important from the viewpoint of conservation of Indian Wild Ass. In fact, Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann is internationally famous for the endangered Indian Wild Ass.

So far as flora is concerned, the reserve is characterized by highly salt tolerant halophytes and xerophytes. The halophytes like Suaeda and Atriplex, numerous grasses are very special in this biosphere reserve. Islands are certainly the hot-spot areas of the biodiversity in the reserve. They are like oases in the Rann. The Kachchh Biosphere Reserve in the Rann of Kachchh is a potential area to be included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under UNESCO�s MAB Programme.

Written by princy

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