address the problems of environment and
development holistically, the Ministry has enunciated several policy instruments which takes into consideration various cross-sectoral issues having a direct bearing on conservation and sustainable uses of natural resources including forestry and wildlife.
Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which are internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme. These reserves are required to meet a minimal set of criteria and adhere to a minimal set of conditions before being admitted to the World Network of Biosphere Reserve designated by UNESCO for inclusion in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The world’s major ecosystem types and landscapes are represented in this network, which is devoted to conserving biological diversity, promoting research and monitoring as well as seeking to provide models of sustainable development in the service of humankind. 49
These reserves are rich in biological and cultural diversity and encompass unique features of exceptionally pristine nature. The goal is to facilitate conservation of representative landscapes and their immense biological diversity and cultural heritage, foster economic and human development which is culturally and ecologically sustainable and to provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange. The scheme is a pioneering effort at pursuing the increasingly difficult yet urgent task of conserving ecological diversity under mounting pressures. The thirteen Biosphere Reserves set up in the country so far not only aim to protect representative ecosystem, but also serve as laboratories for evolving alternative models of development. The Ministry provided financial assistance to the respective State Governments for conservation and management of these Biosphere Reserves. Research and development projects were also supported. On the basis of the proposal submitted by this Ministry to the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere Reserve (MAB) Programme of
UNESCO, three Biosphere Reserves; Sunderban (West Bengal), Mannar (Tamil Nadu) and Nilgiri (Tamil Nadu) have been included in the International Network of Biosphere Reserves. Efforts are on for getting other Biosphere Reserves included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This facilitates international recognition and attracts additional funding in these sites. The Ministry provided financial support to the respective State Governments for management interventions in the buffer zones of these biosphere reserves based on the recommendations of the Indian National MAB Committee. A number of research projects have been completed during the year which provided baseline data helpful in the scientific management of these reserves. A number of new research projects were also initiated during the year. A list of Biosphere Reserves set up so far along with their area and location is given in Table-3.
Conservation and Management of Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs Wetlands
Wetlands are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic system where...