Environment and EcologyGeneral Studies III

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

  • Origin:
    • The name ’Nilgiris’ with literary meaning ‘blue mountains’ has originated from the blue flower clad mountains of the Nilgiris plateau within the State of Tamil Nadu.
    • It was the first biosphere reserve in India established in the year 1986.
  • Geography:
    • The total area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is 5,520 sq. km.
    • It is located in the Western Ghats and encompasses parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
  • Ecological Characteristics:
    • Confluence of Biotic zones: It exemplifies the tropical forest biome which portrays the confluence of Afro-tropical and Indo-Malayan biotic zones of the world.
    • Biodiversity Hotspot: Biogeographically, Western Ghats is the most important region and one of the noted Biodiversity Hotspots (biogeographic regions having highest density of endemic species) for speciation in the tropics.
  • Vegetation:
    • The NBR harbors a wide spectrum of ecosystem types. Major parts of the core areas spread over Kerala and Tamil Nadu States, include evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous montane sholas and grassland types of vegetation.
    • Whereas the core area spread over the State of Karnataka contains mostly dry deciduous forests and a few patches of moist deciduous, semi evergreen and scrub jungles.
  • Fauna:
    • Animals like Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, slender loris, blackbuck, tiger, gaur, Indian elephant and marten are found here.
    • Freshwater fishes such as Nilgiri danio (Devario neilgherriensis), Nilgiri barb (Hypselobarbus dubuis) and Bowany barb (Puntius bovanicus) are endemic to this Biosphere Reserve.
  • Water resources:
    • Many of the major tributaries of the river Cauvery like the Bhavani, Moyar, Kabini and other rivers like Chaliyar, Punampuzha, etc., have their source and catchment areas within the reserve boundary.
  • Tribal Population:
    • Tribal groups like the Todas, Kotas, Irullas, Kurumbas, Paniyas, Adiyans, Edanadan Chettis, Cholanaickens, Allar, Malayan, etc., are native to the reserve.
  • Protected Areas in NBR:
    • The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley are the protected areas present within this reserve.

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