The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills ranges of South India. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km²), conjoining the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2012. It includes the Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Wayanad and Bandipur national parks.
A fascinating ecosystem of the hill ranges of Nilgiris and its surrounding environments covering a tract of over 5000 square kilometers was constituted as Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in September 1986 under Man and Biosphere Programme. Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve is India's first and foremost biosphere reserves with a heritage, rich in flora and fauna.
The reserve encompasses 5,520 km² in the states of Tamil Nadu (2537.6 km²), Karnataka (1527.4 km²) and Kerala (1455.4 km²). It forms an almost complete ring around the Nilgiri Plateau. The biosphere lies between 10°50′N and 12°16′N latitude and 76°00′E to 77°15′E longitude.
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is very rich in plant diversity. About 3,300 species of flowering plants can be seen here. Of the 3,300 species, 132 are endemic to the reserve. The genus Baeolepis is exclusively endemic to the Nilgiris. Some of the plants entirely restricted to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve include species of Adenoon, Calacanthus, Baeolepis, Frerea, Jarodina, Wagatea, Poeciloneuron, etc.
Of the 175 species of orchids found in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, eight are endemic. These include endemic and endangered species of Vanda, Liparis, Bulbophyllum and Thrixspermum. The sholas of the reserve are a treasure house of rare plant species.
About 80% of flowering plants reported from Western Ghats occur in NBR.
^Ranjit Daniels, R. J. (1996). The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve: A Review of Conservation Status with Recommendations for a Wholistic Approach to Management. Working Paper No. 16, 1996. UNESCO (South-South Cooperation Programme), Paris.