If you have been wondering about the first biosphere reserve in India then this post is a must-read for you.
In this post, we will show you data and information about it in an easily consumable manner.
So first, let’s answer the question for which you are here.
Which Is The First Biosphere Reserve In India?
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve covering a total area of about 5,520 km2 is the first biosphere reserve in India. This reserve was established in the year 1986.
The Niligiri Biosphere Reserve includes the parts of Waynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai, Nilambur, and Silent Valley of the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.
This reserve is spread across a complete ring covering the whole Nilgiri Plateau and the hills in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills ranges of South India.
So, what actually is a biosphere?
In simple words, a Biosphere is simply the zone of contact between the water (hydrosphere), air (atmosphere), and land (lithosphere). It is the layer of the planet Earth where life exists.
The biosphere layers range from heights of up to 10 kilometres above sea level, used by some birds in flight, to depths of the ocean at more than 8 kilometres deep.
So, what actually is a biosphere reserve?
Biosphere reserves are multipurpose protected areas of the biospheres encouraging the growth while conserving the various plants and animals.
These Biosphere Reserves are those regions which are meant for preserving genetic and biological diversity in representative ecosystems of various natural biomes and unique biological communities by protecting wildlife, domesticated plant, and animal genetic resources.
These Biosphere reserves are a very important part of any place. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a very important one in India.
Spread across Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu this is the first to be established in the year 1986.
The flora is the plant life found in a particular region. The reserve preserves the species of orchids like Vanda and Liparis. There are other plants like Jarodina, Calacanthus, etc.
There’s so much to know and learn here in this post. So, just keep reading…
Let’s Know A Bit About The First Biosphere Reserve in India.
Do you know that the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills ranges of South India?
The lush-green hilly highlands of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is located in the Western Ghats of South India and includes 2 of the 10 biogeographical provinces of India.
Wide ranges of ecosystems and species diversity are found in this region ranging from an incredible and exotic variety of plants to animals.
Anyways, there’s a lot more to know about this wonderful national park. So, without any further ado, let’s get started…
Here are the interesting things about the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve:
#1. It’s geography
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a prominent Biosphere reserve in India. It covers an area of about 552,000 hectares which is about 5,520 km2.
The total area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is 552,000 hactares. Out of which,
- The Core area is 124,000 hectares
- The Buffer zone is 357,400 hectares
- The Transition zone is 70,600 hectares
The Core areas are the inner untouched parts of the biosphere reserve which is legally protected and is where the human intervention is strictly prohibited. These areas located in the innermost undisturbed ecosystem.
The Buffer zone areas are those regions surrounding the core zone where research and education activities are permitted to humans. Recreation and tourism facilities are also permitted here.
The Transition zone areas are those in most outer parts and peripheral areas of the Biosphere Reserve where all types of human activities like cropping, recreation, forestry, and settlements are permitted with the cooperation of reserve management and local people.
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve includes the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka of South India which includes the biodiversifed Western Ghats in its boundary.
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve falls under the biogeographic region of the Malabar rain forest.
This reserve is spread in Tamil Nadu at about 2537.6 sq. km area, in Kerala it is 1455.4 sq. km, and in Karanataka it is 1527.4 sq. km.
Biogeographically if you see, this Biosphere Reserve is the most important region and one of the noted ‘Hot Spots’ for speciation in the Tropics.
This biosphere reserve is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Nilgiri Sub-Cluster is a part of the Western Ghats, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2012.
The Nilgiri sub-cluster includes the Aralam, Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Nagarhole, Bandipur, and Silent Valley national parks, as well as the Wayanad and Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuaries.
#2. It includes 5 National Parks & 2 Wildlife Sanctuaries
The Nilgiri is a part of Western Ghats was on 2012 declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It is also an International Biosphere Reserve and also India’s first and foremost Biosphere Reserve.
It includes 5 National Parks & 2 Wildlife Sanctuaries in its area.
The 5 National Parks falling under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve area are:
- Silent Valley National Park: Loacted in Palakkad, Kerala, it is the home to the largest population of endangered Lion-tailed Macaque.
- Mudumalai National Park: This is a very popular Tiger Reserve located in Madumalai, Tamil Nadu, India. It also shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala.
- Bandipur National Park: Located in Bandipur, Karnataka, is another famous Tiger Reserve in India. This national Park occupies a special place in India’s efforts towards Eco-conservation.
- Nagarhole National Park: Loacted in Hunsur, Karnataka, it is has the highest density of herbivores in Asia.
- Mukurthi National Park: Located in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, it is home to an array of endangered wildlife, including royal Bengal tiger and Asian elephant.
The 2 Wildlife Sanctuaries falling under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve are:
- Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Wayanad, Kerala, India, it is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.
- Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary: It is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and also the fourth declared Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu.
#3. The remarkable diversity of flora and fauna
The Fauna (animals and insects) of this region includes over 100 species of mammals, over 370 species of birds, 80 species of reptiles, and at least about 39 species of fishes, 31 amphibians, and 316 species of butterflies.
The famous animals of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve include the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Black panther, Gaur, Indian elephant, Mongoose, Malabar giant squirrel, Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Gray langur, and the Nilgiri Tahr.
Do you know? It has the largest population of two endangered species- Lion-tailed macaque, and the Nilgiri Tahr.
The flora are the plant species. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is very rich in plant diversity (flora diversity).
And about 3,300 species of flowering plants can be seen here. Out of the 3,300 species, 133 are endemic in nature.
Some of the plants that can only be seen here in this Biosphere Reserve include species of Adenoon, Calycanthus, Baeolepis, Frerea, Jarodina, Wagatea, Poeciloneuron, etc.
More than 175 species of orchids are found in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, out of which 8 of them are highly endemic in nature.
These include endemic and endangered species of Vanda, Liparis, Bulbophyllum, and Thrixspermum.
Do you know? About 80% of flowering plants reported from the Western Ghats occur in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
#4. The objectives of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
The major objectives of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserves are:
1. To conserve the biodiversity and integrity of plants, animals, and micro-organisms found there.
2. To promote research on ecological conservation and other environmental aspects.
3. To provide facilities for education, awareness, and training.
4. To conserve insitu genetic diversity of species.
5. To restore degraded ecosystems to their natural conditions.
6. To provide baseline data for ecological and environmental research and education.
7. To function as an alternate model for sustainable development of the biodiversity.
8. To maintain the biodiversity of that area.
9. To educate, train, and create lifelong and long-lasting awareness about environmental aspects and eco-friendly living.
10. To conserve representative samples of the various ecosystems in that region.
11. To promote and facilitate basic and applied research.
12. To promote sustainable management of the various biological resources with international cooperation if the need arises.
13. To develop agricultural practices, forestry, biological nature, and socio-economic development as well.
#5. It’s an important tourist destination
Yes! The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is known for being a very popular tourist destination.
It attracts tourists from all around the globe to explore the very beautiful surroundings under the lap of the very beautiful nature.
It is now a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now considered an International Biosphere Reserve. And, this had literally boosted its tourism a lot.
It includes 5 National Parks & 2 Wildlife Sanctuaries with each one being unique of its kind, housing a unique type of biodiversity, and ecosystem. These have also boosted the wildlife tourism of this reserve a lot and a lot.
The best way to explore the wildlife of the biosphere reserve is trekking where you can enjoy not only the sights of animals from a close distance but also the splendid views of the Western Ghats.
A major part of the Nilgiri biosphere is reserved under Project Tiger and Project Elephant which attracts a lot of wildlife enthusiasts throughout the year.
The famous tourist places like Ooty, Bellikal, Coonor, Kotagiri, Coimbatore, Coorg, Munnar, Wayanad, Madikeri, Kodaikanal, Idukki, Vagamon, Pathanamthitta, Chikmagalur, etc. are some of the topmost visited locations in South India and these places are located in and near the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve region of India.
Not only these, but there’s a lot more reasons that had literally turned the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve as a very famous recreational and tourist destination of India.