Protected areas of India

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As in May 2012, the protected areas of India cover 156,700 square kilometres (60,500 sq mi), roughly 4.95% of the total surface area.

There are four categories of Protected areas in India Constituted under the provisions of Wildlife ( Protection) ACT, 1972. Tiger Reserves are constituted by including the areas of National parks and Wildlife sanctuaries. There are 50 tiger reserves in India.


India has the following kinds of protected areas, in the sense of the word designated by IUCN:

National parks[edit]

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 104 national parks. In terms of area, they encompassed a total 39,919 km²(15,413 sq mi), comprising 1.21% of India's total surface area.

Wildlife sanctuaries[edit]

Wildlife sanctuaries (IUCN Category IV): India has 543 animal sanctuaries,covering about 1,16,800 Sq km(comprising around 4% of India's total surface area.) referred to as Wildlife Sanctuaries. Among these, the 50 Tiger Reserves are governed by Project Tiger, and are of special significance in the conservation of the tiger.[1] Latest tiger reserve is Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. Now, the number of Tiger Reserves in India is 51.

Biosphere reserves[edit]

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.[2]

Reserved and protected forests[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chetan Chauhan (21 June 2011), Kawal is tiger reserve no. 42, New Delhi: Hindustan Times, archived from the original on 26 August 2011, retrieved 21 June 2011
  2. ^ "Ministry of Environment and Forests: "Annual Report 2010-2011"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2016.