India’s Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve among 20 World Heritage Sites added by UNESCO

Mar 23, 2016 08:01 IST

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve was on 19 March 2016 included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. It is one among the 20 new sites adopted by the council to its Network.

It was included at the meeting of the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme of UNESCO in Lima.

Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve

• Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is located in the Western Ghats, in the southern part of India.

• The biosphere reserve includes peaks reaching 1868 meters above sea level and comprises mostly of tropical forests.

• It is home to 2254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic.

• It is also a unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants especially cardamom, jamune, nutmeg, pepper and plantain.

• The site includes three wildlife sanctuaries, Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar and Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve.

Besides Agasthyamala, 17 national sites and one trans-boundary site shared between Spain and Portugal were also included in the UNESCO’s Network of Biosphere Reserve. The Council also approved 9 extensions to existing Biosphere Reserves.

Following the withdrawal of two sites at the request of Austria, the total number of biosphere reserves now stands at 669 in 120 countries, including 16 trans-boundary sites.

List of World Network of Biosphere Reserves 2016

• Monts de Tlemcen (Algeria)

• Beaver Hills (Canada)

• Tsá Tué (Canada)

• Lake Bosomtwe (Ghana)

• La Hotte (Haiti)

• Agasthyamala (India)

• Balambangan (Indonesia)

• Hamoun (Iran)

• Collina Po (Italy)

• Barsakelmes (Kazakhstan)

• Belo-sur-Mer—Kirindy-Mitea (Madagascar)

• Isla Cozumel (Mexico)

• Atlas Cedar (Morocco)

• Gran Pajaten (Peru)

• Albay (Philippines)

• Fajas de Sao Jorge (Portugal)

• Tejo/Tajo (Portugal and Spain)

• Jozani-Chwaka Bay (Tanzania)

• Isle of Man (United Kingdom)

The Man and the Biosphere Programme

It was created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as an intergovernmental scientific endeavour to improve relations between people around the world and their natural environment. Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources.

New reserves are designated each year by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Programme, which brings together elected representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.
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