|There has been a worldwide concern over
the damage caused to the coastal areas due to man-made and natural changes.
Various activities which are being undertaken in the coastal areas and
in surrounding seas have resulted in the degradation of wetlands, fllodplains,
seagrass beds and coral reed throughout the world (Carpenter 1983.) Worldwide
awareness for the creation of Marine Biosphere Reserves has increased considerably
due to the human depredation in many coastal areas and natural changes.
many important and unique plant and animal species have been extinct and
whatever remains, need to be conserved and managed for posterity.
The enormous degree of marine environmental
problems has led to the concept of Biosphere Reserve. This concept was
initiated in 1964 during the International Biological Programme (IBP) under
the auspices of the International Council of Scientific Union (ICSU). On
the basis of this study UNESCO launched the Man and Biosphere Programme
(MAB) on global basis in 1974. The concept of Biosphere Reserve encompases
human beings, their needs, problems and development as one of the components
which differ from sancturies where priority is given to wild life.
Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO launched in 1971 aims at developing a base for rational use or conservation of natural resources while improving the relationship between the man and environment. Besides, this objective is also to predict the consequence of man's enterventions on nature today on tommorow's world and thus increase his ability for managing the natural resource effectively.. It also aims to fill the still significant gaps in the understanding of the structure and function of ecosystems and of the impact of different types of human intervention.
The International Coordinating Council which supervises the MAB programme, at its first session in 1971, decided that one of the themes of this programme was to be the 'conservation of natural areas and genetic material they contain'. Under this theme was introduced the concept of the Biosphere Reserve, which was intended to be a series of protected areas linked through a coordinated international network, which would demonstrate the value of conservation and its relationship with develoment. The concept was innovative because of this network character and because it combined Nature conservation with scientific research, environmental monitoring, training, demonstrations, environmental education and local participation.
Since the very beginning of the implementation of the concept of Biosphere Reserve as representative ecological areas, the international Biosphere Reserve network has formed a geographic focus for implementing the MAB Programme.
The first Biosphere Reserves were designated in 1976. Subsequently, the network has grown steadily until 1984; it consists of total of 269 in 74 countries. In this period, cooperation with other international organizations involved with conservation and sustainable development has been strengthened; particularly involved are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource (IUCN). Representatives of these four organizations meet together regularly through the Ecosystem Conservation Group, to coordinate action.
The first international congress convened jointly by UNESCO and UNEP at Minsk (USSR) in 1983 outlined the broad characteristics of the biosphere reserve representing terresterial and coastal environment in various bio-geographic provinces of the world
Each biosphere reserve has been designated to consist of
Nature or Core Zone : Managed for minimum human interference to serve as a baseline for the biological region; research, educational and training activities are carefully controlled and must be non-manipulative
Manipulative or Buffer Zone : Managed for research , education and training activities, and manipulative methods and techniques are permitted. Traditional activities including timber extraction, hunting, fishing and grazing are permitted in controlled manner.
Reclamation of Restoration Zone : Managed to study and reclaim lands and natural resources where heavy natural or human-caused alteration has passed ecological threshold or where biological processes have been interrupted or where species have become totally extinct.
Stable Cultural Zone : Managed to protect and study ongoing culture and land practices which are in harmony with the environment. Local residents and their activities be strictly controlled.
India with about 7860 km coastline including two groups of islands has tremendous potential for marine living resources. certain areas such Malvan (Maharashtra), Okha (Gujarat), Mandapam (Tamil Nadu), Gangetic Sundarbans (West Bengal) as well as Lakshadweep and Andaman group of islands have showm richness with regard to the marine flora and fauna.
Status of Marine Biosphere Reserve in India : Inorder to preserve and protect the unique and ecologically important plant and animal species, attempts are being made to conserve some of the vulnerable areas along the Indian coast line as Biosphere Reserve. Th Indian National Man and Biosphere Reserve Committee constituted a core committee in 1974 to identify areas for Biosphere Reserves. As per the guidelines the committee identified fourteen sites as potential Biosphere Reserves out of which five are Marine Biosphere Reserves. They are :
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (Tamil
Apart from these five declared Marine Biosphere Reserves some more areas along the Indian coast line have been identified. These are as follows :
Malvan Biosphere Reserve
Malvan Biosphere Reserve
Faunal composition comprises of 198 speciesr representing sponges, seafans, soft corals, sea anemones, hard corals etc. which thrive well in the intertidal area. Live pearl oyster and red coral are also found in this area.
Gulf of Khambat Biosphere Reserve :
The extensive mudflats of this area attract numerous waders and is the winter home of two species of flamingos. Common and domicile cranes also assemble on these mudflats to rrost. Large assemblage of cranes in winter is the characteristic feature of the estuary of River Shetrungi. A very small patch of mangroves is seen near Bhavnagar post.
Chilka Lake Biosphere reserve :
This lake has important prawn, mullet and crab fisheries. It is a major wintering spot for water fowl, pintail and other species of wintering ducks and geese. With regard to the bird life, this lake is on par with the Bharatpur Sanctuary. Sand dunes facing the sea may provide hatching sites for marine turtles.
Lakshadweep Biosphere Reserve :
These group of islands are of considerable importance for active conservation programmes as they are rich in marine life. Several atolls house breeding colonies of tropical oceanis birds and marine turtles. Mangrove vegetation is found only at the Minicoy island in small patch.
Bhitarkanika Biosphere reserve :
It is situated to the north of the Mahanadi delta 20o N and 86o59' E, having tidal creeks. there is also the Bhitarkaniaka Island and few smaller islands. This was the reserve of the former Rajas of Kanika. Considerable mangrove forests still cover many of the tidal islands.
Rediscovery of reptiles which formely inhabited the coastal mangrove all along the east coast has lead to the conservation of this area. a 5 m long estuarine crocodilus porosus is the largest living reptile found in India and calls for immediate conservation measures.
The basic aim of the biosphere reserve is the conservation of biotic community as a whole. Some of the coastal areas are very rich and unique in flora and fauna. these areas are required to be conserved for germplasm of all the economically important floral and faunal species. various river banks and coasts have flourishing mangroves which are being deforested for fuel and reclamation. Strict measures are required to be taken not to disturb the mangrove zone and should be left as it is for maintaining coastal ecosystem.
Depletion of various unique and economically
important species is the result of overexploitation. Hence emphasis should
be given harvest the resources on sustainable basis. Industrial revolution
has resulted in coastal pollution endangering flora and fauna. To avoid
further damage due to industrial and sewage pollution, monitoring if impact
together with strict measures to control pollution, should be adopted.
|Andaman & Nicobar||National parks
Middle Button Islands
North Button Islands
South Button Islands
|West Bengal||Biosphere Reserve
Sundarbans National park
|Tamil Nadu||Biosphere Reserve
Gulf of Mannar Marine
Marine National Park
Gulf of Mannar
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Chodan (Chorao)
|Gujarat||Marine National Park