18 Biosphere Reserves in India with PDF Map and key Fauna

This article on Biosphere Reserves in India is written specifically for UPSC aspirants. Apart from a downloadable PDF map, this article also includes three important tables:

  1. Notified Biosphere Reserves in India with states
  2. World Network of Biosphere Reserves in India under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
  3. Important species of Fauna found in these Biosphere Reserves.

Aspirants are encouraged to study the map and the tables thoroughly as questions have been and can be asked from these specific points.

Biosphere reserves are designated areas aimed at conserving the biodiversity of a particular region while promoting sustainable development.

They protect larger areas of natural habitat than a typical national park or wildlife sanctuary and often include one or more national parks or other protected areas.

Presently, there are 18 notified Biosphere Reserves in India. Out of these, 12 are recognized by UNESCO in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

Biosphere Reserves in India Map

In the above-given map of Biosphere Reserves in India, all officially designated Biosphere Reserves are marked in green. Those included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves are additionally highlighted with a blue circle.

List of Biosphere Reserves in India

The table below provides the list of all 18 Notified Biosphere Reserves in India along with their locations (States), year of designation, and their area in km2 :

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve1986Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka5520
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve1988Uttarakhand5861
Nokrek Biosphere Reserve1988Meghalaya820
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve1989Andaman and Nicobar Islands885
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve1989Tamil Nadu10500
Manas Biosphere Reserve1989Assam2837
Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve1989West Bengal9630
Simlipal Biosphere Reserve1994Odisha4374
Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve1997Assam765
Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve1998Arunachal Pradesh5112
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve1999Madhya Pradesh4982
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve2000Sikkim2620
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve2001Tamil Nadu, Kerala3500
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve2005Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh3836
Great Rann of Kutch Biosphere Reserve2008Gujarat12454
Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve2009Himachal Pradesh7770
Seshachalam Hills Biosphere Reserve2010Andhra Pradesh4756
Panna Biosphere Reserve2011Madhya Pradesh2999

Please note that the Manas BR, Sundarbans BR, and Nanda Devi BR are also associated with the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

World Network of Biosphere Reserves in India

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) are internationally designated protected areas meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature. They are created under the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB).

In 2020, the Panna Biosphere Reserve became the latest entry from India into the list of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere.

Presently, 12 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country have been recognized by UNESCO under the MAB Programme list.

The table below provides the list of UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves along with their location and year of entry into the list:

Nilgiri Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka2000
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu2000
Sundarbans Biosphere ReserveWest Bengal2001
Nanda Devi Biosphere ReserveUttarakhand2004
Nokrek Biosphere ReserveMeghalaya2009
Pachmarhi Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh2009
Simlipal Biosphere ReserveOdisha2009
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh2012
Great Nicobar Biosphere ReserveAndaman and Nicobar Islands2013
Agasthyamalai Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu, Kerala2016
Khangchendzonga Biosphere ReserveSikkim2018
Panna Biosphere ReserveMadhya Pradesh2020

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to Biosphere Reserves in India:

1. How many Biosphere Reserves are there in India?

Presently, there are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India.

2. Which was the first Biosphere Reserve in India?

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, notified in the year 1986, was the first Biosphere Reserve in India.

3. Which is the latest Biosphere Reserve in India?

The Panna Biosphere Reserve, which was notified in 2011, is the latest addition to India’s Biosphere Reserves.

4. Which is the Largest Biosphere Reserve in India?

The Great Rann of Kutch Biosphere Reserve in Gujarat, with an area of 12,454 square kilometers, is the largest Biosphere Reserve in India.

5. Which is the smallest Biosphere Reserve in India?

Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve in Assam, with an area of 765 square kilometers, is the smallest Biosphere Reserve in India.

6. How many Biosphere Reserves in India are recognized by UNESCO?

Out of the 18 Biosphere Reserves in India, 12 are recognized by UNESCO. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, added to the list in 2000, was the first Biosphere Reserve from India to receive UNESCO recognition, while the Panna Biosphere Reserve, added in 2020, is the most recent addition.

Key Fauna in India’s Biosphere Reserves

The table below provides the key animal species found in each Biosphere Reserve (BR) in India along with their latest updated IUCN Red List status.

The following coloured abbreviations are used in the table:

  • (LC) – Least Concern
  • (NT) – Near Threatened
  • (VU) – Vulnerable
  • (EN) – Endangered
  • (CR) – Critically Endangered

Biosphere ReservesKey Fauna
Nilgiri BR Nilgiri Tahr (EN), Lion Tailed Macaque (EN), Malabar Giant Squirrel (LC)
Nanda Devi BRSnow Leopard (VU), Musk Deer (EN), Bharal Or Blue Sheep (LC), Himalayan Black Bear (VU)
Nokrek BRRed Panda (EN), Hoolock Gibbon (EN), Red Giant Flying Squirrel (LC)
Great Nicobar BRSaltwater Crocodile (LC), Dugong (VU)
Gulf of Mannar BRDugong (VU)
Manas BRAssam Roofed Turtle (CR), Bengal florican (CR), Pygmy Hog (EN), Hispid Hare (EN), Golden Langur (EN), Wild Water Buffalo (EN)
Sundarbans BRRoyal Bengal Tiger (EN)
Simlipal BRRoyal Bengal Tiger (EN), Asian Elephant (EN), Gaur (VU)
Dibru-Saikhowa BRTiger (EN), Clouded Leopard (VU), Water Buffalo (EN), Capped Langur (EN), Gangetic Dolphin (EN)
Dihang-Dibang BRTakin (VU), Musk Deer (EN), Red Panda (EN)
Pachmarhi BRTiger (EN), Gaur (VU), Indian Giant Flying Squirrel (LC)
Khangchendzonga BRRed Panda (EN), Snow Leopard (VU), Musk Deer (EN)
Agasthyamalai BRNilgiri Tahr (EN), Asian Elephant (EN)
Achanakmar-Amarkantak BR Indian Wild Dog (Dhole) [EN], Four Horned Antelope (Chausingha) [VU]
Great Rann of Kutch BRGreat Indian Bustard (CR), Indian Wild Ass (NT)
Cold Desert BRSnow Leopard (VU), Himalayan Ibex (Siberian Ibex) [NT]
Seshachalam Hills BRGolden Gecko (LC), Gray Slender Loris (NT)
Panna BRTiger (EN), Chinkara (LC), Chital (LC), Sambar (VU)

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Subodh Sharma

I am Subodh Sharma, an IIT Roorkee graduate, committed to assisting UPSC aspirants in their map-based preparation journey. Having dedicated over four years to preparing for the UPSC examinations myself, I deeply understand the challenges and frustrations aspirants face in finding quality maps-based content. The years of preparation have given me...

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