The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was included at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme of UNESCO that concluded in Peru on March 19. India has been campaigning for the inclusion of the reserve in the network for the past few years. The ABR covers the Shendurney and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuaries and parts of the Neyyar Sanctuary in Kerala and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.
- Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are internationally recognized, nominated by national governments and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.
- ABR was the only biosphere reserve considered by the International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves during the Paris session held last year from India.
- With the addition of the ABR, 10 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country have made it to the UNESCO list.
- The others in India, which have been included in the UNESCO list, are Nilgiri, Gulf of Mannar, Sunderban, Nanda Devi, Nokrek, Pachmarh, Similipal, Achanakmar-Amarkantak and Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserves.
News Item compiled by Namrata Keshava