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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Gulf of Mannar BR
  General Description   The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 1,050,000 hectares on the south-east coast of India across from Sri Lanka. It is one of the world’s richest regions from a marine biodiversity perspective. The biosphere reserve comprises 21 islands with estuaries, beaches, forests of the nearshore environment, including a marine component with algal communities, sea grasses, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. Among the Gulf’s 3,600 plant and animal species are the globally endangered sea cow (Dugong dugon) and six mangrove species endemic to peninsular India.
The inhabitants are mainly Marakeyars, local people principally engaged in fisheries. There are about 47 villages along the coastal part of the biosphere reserve which support some 100,000 people (200,000 seasonally as of 2001). The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has provided support to the establishment of the biosphere reserve, including the setting up and functioning of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust, which is responsible for the coordination of the management plan for the biosphere reserve in concertation with government agencies, private entrepreneurs, and local people’s representatives. Priority is being given to encouraging community-based management.
  Major ecosystem type   Islands including coastal/marine component; coral reefs and mangrove
  Major habitats & land cover types   Sea grass beds dominated by Hydrocharitaceae and Potamogetonaceae, Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotunda, C. serrulata etc.; coral reefs; mangroves including Rhizophora conjugata, Avicennia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, Lumnitzera racemosa etc.
  Location   08°47' to 09°15'N; 78°12' to 79°14'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)  
  Year designated   2001
  Administrative authorities   The Chief Conservation of forests (Wild life), and the principal Chief Conservator of forests, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Chennai
  Brief description   Climatological monitoring
water quality
Effects of coral mining
Environmental impact assessment on biodiversity
GIS based monitoring of vegetation
Characterization of biodiversity at a molecular level
Monitoring of fisheries
Long-term monitoring site for the conservation of flora, fauna and marine microorganisms
Assessment of present taxonomic concept of various groups on the regional ecosystem basis
Studies on biotic and abiotic stress on biodiversity
Enlisting of threatened fauna and flora based on genetic, ecological and economic significance
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies, pollution, pollutants.
  Biodiversity   Benthos, biodiversity, biogeography, conservation, coral reefs, ecosystem assessment, fauna, flora, genetic resources, methodologies, microorganisms, rare/endangered/threatened species, taxonomy, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Bioprospecting, economically important species, fishery/fisheries, mining, monitoring methodologies.
  Integrated monitoring   Geographic Information System/GIS, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, monitoring/methodologies.
  Contact address    
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paryvaran Bhavan - C.G.O. Complex - Lodhi Road
110 003 New Delhi
  Telephone   (91.11) 436 4593
  Fax   (91.11) 436 2551

Last updated: 27/09/2001

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