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3 More Indian Sites added to UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves

In Environment, India, Science, Travel on June 2, 2009 at 12:44 pm
Pachmarhi. (Photo credit:

Pachmarhi. (Photo credit:

By Antoinette Alexander

Nokrek, Pachmarhi and Similipal are among the 22 new sites to join the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) network of Biosphere Reserves.

Biosphere Reserves are areas designated to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity. These hotspots are visualized as sites for experimenting with and learning about sustainable development approaches. With the addition of the 22 new sites from 17 countries, there are now 553 sites in 107 countries.

According to UNESCO: Nokrek “is a biological hotspot in the state of Meghalaya featuring undisturbed natural ecosystems and landscapes. Besides harbouring elephants, tigers, leopards and hollock gibbons, the area is also noted for its wild varieties of citrus fruit which may come to serve as a gene pool for commercially produced citrus.

Pachmarhi, located in the heart of India, in Madya Pradesh State, includes tiger and other wildlife reserves. At the interface of several types of forest – tropical, moist and dry as well as sub-tropical hill forests – the area is considered a botanist’s paradise. Through their social and cultural traditions, local tribes contribute to conservation of the forest while drawing on a variety of resources for nutrition, agriculture and income generation.

Similipal is a tiger reserve in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, which used to be the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Mayurbhanj. This tropical environment abounds with tigers, elephants, panthers, deer and numerous plant species, making it a living laboratory for environmental scientists. The area’s tribal inhabitants depend on agriculture, hunting and collection of forest products for their livelihoods but additional sources of income are badly needed to alleviate their poverty.”

Other Biosphere Reserves in India include the Gulf of Mannar, Nanda Devi, Nilgiri and Sunderban.


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