Protected areas of India
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As of May 2004, the protected areas of India cover 156,700 square kilometres (60,500 sq mi), roughly 4.95% of the total surface area.
- National Parks
- Wildlife sanctuaries
- Biosphere reserves
- Reserved and protected forests
- Conservation reserves and community reserves
- Private protected areas
- Conservation areas
National parks (IUCN Category II): India's first national park was Hailey National Park, now Jim Corbett National Park, established in 1936. By 1970, India had 5 national parks; today it has over 120 national parks All national park lands then encompassed a total 39,919 km²(15,413 sq mi), comprising 1.21% of India's total surface area.Many species of animals reside in its world-famous forests.
Wildlife sanctuaries (IUCN Category IV): India has over 500 animal sanctuaries, referred to as Wildlife Sanctuaries. Among these, the 48 Tiger Reserves are governed by Project Tiger, and are of special significance in the conservation of the tiger. Latest tiger reserve is Rajaji National park in Uttarakhand.
Biosphere reserve (UNESCO designation roughly corresponding to IUCN Category V): The Indian government has also established Biosphere reserves, which protect larger areas of natural habitat, and often include one or more national parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to limited economic activities. The Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves of India.
Reserved and protected forests
Reserved forests and protected forest (IUCN Category IV or VI, depending on protection accorded): These are forested lands where logging, hunting, grazing and other activities may be permitted on a sustainable basis to members of certain communities. In reserved forests, explicit permission is required for such activities. In protected forests, such activities are allowed unless explicitly prohibited. Thus, in general reserved forests enjoy a higher degree of protection with respect to protected forests.
Conservation and community reserves
Conservation reserve and Community reserve (IUCN Category V and VI respectively): These are areas adjoining existing protected areas which are of ecological value and can act as migration corridors, or buffer zone. Conservation reserves are designated government owned land from where communities may earn a subsistence, while community reserves are on mixed government/private lands. Community reserves are the only privately held land accorded protection by the government of India.
Village and panchayat Forests
Village and panchayat forests (IUCN Category VI): These are forested lands administered by a village or a panchayat on a sustainable basis, with the habitat, flora and fauna being accorded some degree of protection by the managing community.
Private protected areas
Private protected areas: These are regions which are owned by an individual or an organisation / corporation not affiliated to the government or a communal body. Even though Indian legislation does not provide protection to such areas, some NGOs are using methods such as land trusts to help in the conservation effort, and providing limited means of protection.
Conservation areas: Conservation areas are large, well-designated geographical entities where landscape conservation is undergoing, and usually contains different kinds of constituent protected areas, as well as privately owned land.
- Chetan Chauhan (2011-06-21), Kawal is tiger reserve no. 42, New Delhi: Hindustan Times, retrieved 2011-06-21
- Ministry of Environment and Forests: "Annual Report 2010-2011"
- United Nations List of National Parks and Protected Areas: India (1993)
- Ministry of Forests and Environment Protected Areas website
- Ministry of Forests and Environment-Report Ch10 Biodiversity
- SPECIES CHECKLIST: Species Diversity in India; ENVIS Centre: Wildlife & Protected Areas (Secondary Database); Wildlife Institute of India (WII)
- ENVIS Centre: Wildlife & Protected Areas (Secondary Database); Wildlife Institute of India (WII)