Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve

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Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve
Map showing the location of Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve
Map showing the location of Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve
Agasthyamala BR
Location Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli Districts
Nearest city Trivandrum
Coordinates 8°39′0″N 77°13′0″E / 8.65000°N 77.21667°E / 8.65000; 77.21667Coordinates: 8°39′0″N 77°13′0″E / 8.65000°N 77.21667°E / 8.65000; 77.21667
Area 3,500.36 km2 (1,351.50 sq mi)
Established 2001
Governing body

Ministry of Environment & Forests
Tamil Nadu Forest Department

Kerala Forest and Wildlife Dept.

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was Established in 2001 and includes 3,500.36 km2 (1,351.50 sq mi) of which 1828 km² is in Kerala and 1672.36 km² is in Tamil Nadu.[1][2]

The Western Ghats, Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, including all of Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.[3] Agasthyamala is located in this biosphere area.


ABR straddles the border of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram Districts in Kerala and Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu, South India at the southern end of the Western Ghats. The Biosphere lies Between 8° 8' to 9° 10' North Latitude and 76° 52' to 77° 34' East Longitude. Central location is 8°39′N 77°13′E / 8.650°N 77.217°E / 8.650; 77.217 .

It is composed of Neyyar,[4] Peppara[5] and Shendurney[6] Wildlife Sanctuaries and their adjoining areas of Achencoil,[7] Thenmala, Konni,[8] Punalur, Thiruvananthapuram Divisions and Agasthyavanam Special Division in Kerala.[9] Inclusion of adjoining areas of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu has been approved. The reserve now covers parts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts in Kerala.[2]

1868 m high Agastya Mala mountain


ABR includes the Indian Ecoregions of South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, South Western Ghats montane rain forests and Shola. It is the habitat for 2,000 varieties of medicinal plants, of which at least 50 are rare and endangered species. Rare animals include the tiger, Asian Elephant, and Nilgiri Tahr. Agastyamalai is also home to the Kanikaran,[10][11] one of the oldest surviving ancient tribes in the world.[12] Ecotourism is popular in the area.

Thenmala Adventure Zone


A local committee and a state level Biosphere Management Committee co-ordinate the activities of various departments in the ABR area and ensure the scientific management of the ABR according to guidelines of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests.[13][14] ABM is awaiting approval as participant in the UNESCO-Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.[15]


  1. ^ Kerala Forests & Wildlife Dept, Biosphere Reserves.Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve
  2. ^ a b Tamil Nadu Forest Department (2007) retrieved September 2, 2007 AGASTHIYARMALAI BIOSPHERE RESERVE
  3. ^ UNESCO, World Heritage sites, Tentative lists, Western Ghats sub cluster, Agasthyamalai. retrieved April 20, 2007 World Heritage sites, Tentative lists
  4. ^ Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  5. ^ Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
  6. ^ Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
  7. ^ Achencoil, Kerala
  8. ^ Konni, Kerala
  10. ^ Anuradha, R. V., "Sharing with the Kanis, A case study from Kerala, India" [1]
  11. ^ Ministry of Forests and Environment-Report Ch10 Biodiversity/Kanis
  12. ^ The Hindu, "Environment Ministry to soon declare Agastyamalai a biosphere reserve", Jan 3, 2006.[2]
  13. ^ Kerala Forests & Wildlife Department
  14. ^ Wildlife Institute of India
  15. ^ UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list