• A biosphere is an area where land, water and
the atmosphere meet each other.
• Biospheres are very rich in the variety of life in
The Gulf Of Mannar
Biosphere is the earliest
marine biosphere reserve in
India. It was declared a
Biosphere Reserve in 1989.
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is located south of the
Palk Strait between Srilanka and India.
Area is more than 10,500 metre square.
It hosts more than 3,600 species of flora
It is known for its pearl banks.
The biosphere includes beaches,
estuaries, seaweed, sea grass, coral
reefs, salt marshes and mangrove forests.
The Gulf of Mannar is one of the richest
coastal regions in Asia.
More than 117 hard coral species have been
recorded in this biosphere.
Sea turtles, sharks, dugongs and dolphins
frequently visit this area.
Sea weed, sea grass, coral reefs, salt marshes
and mangrove forests are the types of
vegetation that thrive here.
The gulf of Mannar is very popular for its
pearl banks. The pearls are exported to
various places around the Earth.
Pearl fishing in the gulf of
Mannar in 1926
The biosphere consists of a wide variety and a
large population of fish. The main occupation
here is hence, fishing.
The mangroves growing in the biosphere
provide protection from tsunamis.
During the 2004 tsunami, a coastal village
protected by these mangroves recorded only
2 deaths. Whereas, another coastal village of
about the same population that did not have
mangroves recorded hundreds of deaths.
47 villages are located near the biosphere.
Their combined population is more than
50,000. This has led to overharvesting of
Local fishermen rely on the reef to feed their
Increased pollution and coral mining have
also reduced catches.
Several species such as dolphins, dugongs,
sharks, whales and sea cucumbers are
The government of India is planning to create a
channel linking the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay
of Bengal. This could disturb the marine life.
In 1986, a group of 21 small islands were
declared the ‘Gulf of Mannar Marine
In 1989, the park and it’s 10 km buffer zone
were declared the ‘ Gulf of Mannar
The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve is located amongst the
Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu near Tirunelveli.
This biosphere covers an area of about 3,500
The ABR is composed of 3 wildlife sanctuaries
and the adjoining areas of the Kallakad
Mandutharai Tiger reserve.
It is located at a high altitude and is home to
many rare species of plants and animals.
The ABR provides habitat to many rare and
endangered species of animals.
Some of them are the tiger, Asian elephant
and the NilgiriTahr.
The biosphere also provides home to many
It is home to one of the oldest surviving
ancient tribe on Earth, the Kanikaran.
The biosphere is located in the Western Ghats
Most Deciduous Forests.
Almost the entire area is covered with a
rainforest with tall trees.
More than 2,000 varieties of medicinal herbs
also exist in the ABR.
About 50 of them are rare species.
The biosphere is a good place for tourism.
The rare and endangered species in it attract
The availability of medicinal herbs provides
plants for medicinal purposes.
The mountainous region provides land for
The Agasthyamalai biosphere reserve has to
tackle poaching and illegal hunting of
Many humans living near it often cut trees for
wood from the forest.
In 2011, foreign tourism generated
$121 million in India.
In Tamil Nadu alone, there were around 2.2
million foreign wildlife tourists.
The huge amount of revenue generated from
tourism encourages the government to invest
in the tourism industry.
The beauty and variety of wildlife in the
country impresses tourists.
So, areas are declared as wildlife sanctuaries,
national parks and biospheres.
Tourism plays a significant role in
encouraging the government to preserve the
wildlife of the country.