India’s Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It was included along with other 19 sites at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (ICCMAB) programme of UNESCO that concluded recently in Lima, Peru.
With the addition of the ABR, total 10 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country have made it to the list of World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The other 9 Biosphere Reserves are: Nilgiri (Western Ghats), Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu), Sunderban (West Bengal), Nanda Devi (Uttarakhand), Nokrek (Meghalaya), Pachmarh (Madhya Pradesh), Similipal (Odisha), Achanakmar-Amarkantak (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and Great Nicobar.
The BRs are designated for inclusion in the network by the ICCMAB after evaluating the nominations forwarded by the State through National MAB Committees.
About Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR)
- ABR in situated at the southern-most end of the Western Ghats and spread over two southern states Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was established in 2001.
- The reserve is named after Agastya Mala peak that rises up to almost 1868 metres above sea level, in Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala.
- It covers an area of 3,500 sq km at an altitude ranging from 100 metres to 1,868 metres above the Mean Sea Level.
- It covers Peppara and Shendurney wildlife sanctuaries and parts of the Neyyar sanctuary in Kerala and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.
- Flora: It mostly consists of tropical forests and is home to 2,254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic.
- About 400 Red Listed Plants have been recorded from ABR. About 125 species of orchids and rare, endemic and threatened plants have been recorded from the reserve.
- Fauna: It is home to rare animals include the tiger, Asian Elephant, and Nilgiri Tahr.
- Tribe: It is home to the Kanikaran tribe, one of the oldest surviving ancient tribes in the world.
About Biosphere Reserves (BR)
- They are places for learning about sustainable development that aims to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources.
- In India, BRs protect larger areas of natural habitat and often include one or more National Parks.
- In BRs, protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions and their ways of life.
For more information: Biosphere Reserves