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Odisha government proposes state’s second biosphere reserve at Mahendragiri

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Odisha government proposes state’s second biosphere reserve at Mahendragiri:


Context:

The Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri, a hill ecosystem having rich biodiversity.

  • The 5,569-square kilometre Similipal Biosphere Reserve is Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified May 20, 1996.

About the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve:

  • It is around 470,955 hectares and is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas, making the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversities.
  • Mahendragiri is inhabited by the Soura people, a particularly vulnerable tribal group as well as the Kandha tribe.

What are biosphere reserves?

Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both.

  • Biosphere Reserves tries to balance economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values along with the preservation of nature.
  • The concept of Biosphere Reserves was launched in 1971 as a, part of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’.

Criteria for Designation of Biosphere Reserve:

  1. A site must contain a protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
  2. Core area must be a bio-geographical unit and should be large enough to sustain a viable populations representing all trophic levels.
  3. The involvement of local communities and use of their knowledge in biodiversity preservation.
  4. Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of the environment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are biosphere reserves?
  2. Criteria.
  3. Protection.
  4. About UNESCO MAB Network.

Mains Link:

Write a note on UNESCO’S ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’. 

Sources: down to earth.