National parks, Sanctuaries, Biosphere reserves and Botanical gardens

The Indian Constitution entails the subject of forests and wildlife in the Concurrent list. The Federal Ministry acts as a guiding torch dealing with the policies and planning on wildlife conservation, while the provincial Forest Departments are vested with the responsibility of implementation of national policies and plans.

The Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme initiated by UNESCO  in 1972  is a broad based ecological programme aimed at  improvement of the relationship between man and the environment;  to predict the consequences of today’s actions on tomorrow’s world and thereby to increase man’s ability to manage the natural resources of the biosphere efficiently.

National parks

National Park is an area having adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance. The National Park is declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment, like that of a Sanctuary. The difference between a Sanctuary and a National Park mainly lies in the vesting of rights of people living inside. Unlike a Sanctuary, where certain rights can be allowed, in a National Park, no rights are allowed. No grazing of any livestock shall also be permitted inside a National Park while in a Sanctuary, the Chief Wildlife Warden may regulate, control or prohibit it. In addition, while any removal or exploitation of wildlife or forest produce from a Sanctuary requires the recommendation of the State Board for Wildlife, removal etc., from a National Park requires recommendation of the National Board for Wildlife


Sanctuary  is  an  area  which  is  of  adequate  ecological,  faunal,  floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance. The Sanctuary is declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.  Certain rights of people living inside the Sanctuary could be permitted. Further, during the settlement of claims, before finally notifying the Sanctuary, the Collector may, in consultation with the Chief Wildlife Warden, allow the continuation of any right of any person in or over any land within the limits of the Sanctuary.

Biosphere reserves

Biosphere Reserves are special entities (sites) for both the people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs. These reserves contain genetic elements evolved over millions of years that hold the key to future adaptations and survival. The high degree of diversity and endemism and associated traditional farming systems and knowledge held by the people in these reserves are the product of centuries of human innovation and experimentation.  These sites have Global importance, having tremendous potential for future economic development, especially as a result of emerging new trends in Biotechnology.

Primary criteria for Biosphere Reserve

• A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation and should include additional land and water suitable for research and demonstration of sustainable methods of research and management.
• The core area should be typical of a biogeographical unit and large enough to sustain viable populations representing all tropic levels in the ecosystem.

Secondary criteria for Biosphere Reserve

• Areas having rare and endangered species
• Areas having diversity of soil and micro-climatic conditions and indigenous varieties of biota.
• Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of environment.

Biosphere Reserves are demarcated into three  inter-related zones. These are (I) natural or core zone (ii) manipulation or buffer zone and (iii) A  transition zone outside  the buffer zone.

The core zone is kept absolutely undisturbed. It must contain suitable habitat for numerous plant and animal species, including higher order predators and may contain centres of endemism.In the Buffer Zone, which adjoins or surrounds core zone, uses and activities are managed in ways that protect the core zone. These uses and activities include restoration, demonstration sites for enhancing value addition to the resources, limited recreation, tourism, fishing and grazing, which are permitted to reduce its effect on core zone. The Transition Zone is the outermost part of a Biosphere Reserve. This is usually not delimited one and is a zone of cooperation where conservation,  knowledge and management skills are applied and uses are managed in harmony with the purpose of the Biosphere Reserve.

Botanical gardens

A botanical garden is a garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names. It may contain specialist plant collections such as cacti and other succulent plants, herb gardens, plants from particular parts of the world, and so on; there may be greenhouses, shadehouses, again with special collections such as tropical plants, alpine plants, or other exotic plants. Visitor services at a botanical garden might include tours, educational displays, art exhibitions, book rooms, open-air theatrical and musical performances, and other entertainment.

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