Biosphere Reserves

THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 12,2017 , 05:25 AM IST


A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has been growing an island off the Tamil Nadu coast since 2015. Called Vaan Island, it is located two kilometres off the Tuticorin coast in the southern state, according to a report. The island is among the 21 uninhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar, which is located between India and Sri Lanka. Notably, it is the first marine biosphere reserves in Asia and was created by the Indian government in 1989.

“Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/ marine ecosystems or a combination thereof. BRs are designated to deal with one of the most important questions of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity, the quest for economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values. BRs are thus special environments for both people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India defines Biosphere Reserves thus–Biosphere Reserves (BRs) are representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination thereof and representative examples of bio-geographic zones/province. The Biosphere Reserves of India correspond roughly to the IUCN Category V Protected Areas list and are often designed to include one or more national parks and national sanctuaries.

There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in the country. The Biosphere Reserve Programme is guided by UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme as India is a signatory to the landscape approach supported by MAB programme. A scheme called Biosphere Reserve is being implemented by Government of India since 1986, in which 90:10 financial assistance is given to North Eastern Region States and three Himalayan States.

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