This post will make a completed view of Biosphere reserves in Asia and the Pacific from knowledge to listing all places Update [Oct – 2022]

Know about Biosphere reserves

What is Biosphere Reserve?

  • Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both.
  • Biosphere Reserves tries to balance economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values along with the preservation of nature.
  • Biosphere Reserves are thus special environments for both people and nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.

What are the Criteria for Designation of Biosphere Reserve?

  • A site must contain a protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
  • The core area must be a bio-geographical unit and should be large enough to sustain a viable populations representing all trophic levels.
  • The involvement of local communities and use of their knowledge in biodiversity preservation.
  • Area’s potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of the environment.

What are the Three Main Zones of Biosphere Reserve?

  • Core Areas:
    • It is the most protected area of a biosphere reserve. It may contain endemic plants and animals.
    • They conserve the wild relatives of economic species and also represent important genetic reservoirs having exceptional scientific interest.
    • A core zone is a protected region, like a National Park or Sanctuary/protected/regulated mostly under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is kept free from human interference.
  • Buffer Zone:
    • The buffer zone surrounds the core zone, and its activities are managed in this area in ways that help in the protection of the core zone in its natural condition.
    • It includes restoration, limited tourism, fishing, grazing, etc., which are permitted to reduce its effect on the core zone.
    • Research and educational activities are to be encouraged.
  • Transition Zone:
    • It is the outermost part of the biosphere reserve. It is the zone of cooperation where human ventures and conservation are done in harmony.
    • It includes settlements, croplands, managed forests and areas for intensive recreation and other economic uses characteristics of the region.

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Biosphere reserves in Asia and the Pacific 6

What are the Functions of Biosphere Reserve?

  • Conservation:
    • Managing Biosphere Reserve’s genetic resources, endemic species, ecosystems, and landscapes.
    • It may prevent man-animal conflict eg., death of tiger Avni who was shot dead when she turned man-eater
    • Along with the wildlife, culture and customs of tribals are also protected
  • Development:
    • Promoting economic and human growth that is sustainable on a sociocultural and ecological level. It seeks to strengthen the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic, and protection of the environment.
  • Logistic support:
    • Promoting research activities, environmental education, training and monitoring in the context of local, national and international conservation and sustainable development.

Biosphere reserves in Asia and the Pacific

There are 172 biosphere reserves in 24 countries in Asia and the Pacific.


Asia and the Pacific region counts four regional networks:

The East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN) launched in 1994,

The Pacific Man and the Biosphere Network (PacMAB) was created in 2006,

The South and Central Asia MAB Network (SACAM) was created in 2002, and

The Southeast Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (SeaBRnet) was created in 1998.

Map of the Asia Pacific region showing countries with biosphere reserves in green and WANEE asia
Map of the Asia Pacific region showing countries with biosphere reserves in green and those without in yellow. Red points are point locations of Asia Pacific biosphere reserves. Map by Rona Dennis – 2010

Full list of biosphere reserves in Asia and the Pacific

This list includes Periodic Reviews –January 2021 Update link Here (UNESCO.ORG)

Countries (24)Biosphere Reserve (172)Year of designationPeriodic Reviews
5 biosphere reservesCroajingolong1977. Withdrawn in 20202003
 Kosciuszko1977. Withdrawn in 20202003
 Southwest1977. Withdrawn in 2002 
 Macquarie Island1977. Withdrawn in 2011 
 Prince Regent1977. Withdrawn in 2018 
 Unnamed1977. Withdrawn in 20202003
 Uluru (Ayers Rock-Mount Olga)1977. Withdrawn in 20202003
 Yathong1977. Withdrawn in 2018 
 Riverland1977 (Originally Danggali Conservation Park, extended and renamed Bookmark in 1995. Renamed as Riverland in 2004). Withdrawn in 20202004
 Fitzgerald (Extended & renamed in 2017)19782003, 2017
 Hattah-Kulkyne & Murray-Kulkyne1981. Withdrawn in 2018 
 Wilson’s Promontory1981. Withdrawn in 2018 
 Mornington Peninsula and Western Port20022015
 Barkindji2005. Withdrawn in 2018 
 Great Sandy2009 
 Sunshine Coast2022 
1 biosphere reserveTonle Sap19972012
34 biosphere reservesChangbaishan19791998, 2017
 Dinghushan19791998, 2017
 Wolong19791998, 2017
 Fanjingshan19861999, 2017
 Xilingol19871999, 2017
 Bogeda19902001, 2016
 Shennongjia19902001, 2017
 Yancheng19922003, 2015
 Xishuangbanna19932004, 2016
 Jiuzhaigou Valley19972011
 Nanji Islands19982011
 Shankou Mangrove20002011
 Gaoligong Mountain20002011
 Saihan Wula20012012
 Dalai Lake20022014
 Xingkai Lake2007 
 Mao’er Mountain2011 
 Snake Island, Laotie Mountain2013 ;
 Mount Huangshan2018 
12 biosphere reservesNilgiri20002012
 Gulf of Mannar20012013
 Nanda Devi2004 
 Great Nicobar2013 
19 biosphere reservesCibodas19772011
 Komodo19771999, 2013
 Lore Lindu19771999, 2013
 Tanjung Puting19771998, 2013
 Gunung Leuser19811999, 2013
 Siberut19811999, 2013
 Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu2009 
 Bromo Tengger Semeru-Arjuno2015 
 Taka Bonerate-Kepulauan Selayar2015 
 Berbak – Sembilang2018 
 Betung Kerihun Danau Sentarum Kapuas Hulu2018 
 Rinjani Lombok2018 
 Saleh-Moyo-Tambora or ‘SAMOTA’2019 
 Togean Tojo Una-Una2019 
 Bunaken Tangkoko Minahasa2020 
 Merapi Merbabu Menoreh2020 
13 biosphere reservesArasbaran19762002, 2013
 Arjan19762002, 2013
 Geno19762002, 2013
 Golestan19762002, 2013
 Hara19762002, 2013
 Kavir19762002, 2013
 Lake Oromeeh19762002, 2013
 Miankaleh19762002, 2013
 Touran19762002, 2013
 Tang-e-Sayad & Sabzkuh2015 
 Kopet Dag2018 
10 biosphere reservesMount Hakusan1980 (Extended in 2016)1999, 2016
 Mount Odaigahara, Mount Omine and Osugidani1980 (former Mount Odaigahara & Mount Omine, extended and renamed in 2016)1999, 2016
 Shiga Highland1980 (Extended in 2014)1999, 2014
 Yakushima and Kuchinoerabu Jima1980 (former Yakushima Island, extended and renamed in 2016)1999, 2016
 Sobo, Katamuki and Okue2017 
15 biosphere reserveKorgalzhyn2012 
 Great Altay Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Kazakhstan/Russian Federation)(former Katon-Karagay 2014) 2017 
 Altyn Emel2017 
 West Altai2020 
 Kolsai Kolderi Biosphere Reserve2021 
5 biosphere reservesMount Paekdu19892002, 2014
 Mount Kuwol2004 
 Mount Myohyang2009 
 Mount Chilbo2014 
 Mount Kumgang2018 
9 biosphere reservesMount Sorak1982 (Extended in 2016)1998, 2013
 Jeju Island2002 (Extended in 2019)2013
 Shinan Dadohae2009 (Extended in 2016)2016
 Gwangneung Forest2010 
 Gangwon Eco-Peace2019 
 Yeoncheon Imjin River2019 
 Wando Archipelago Biosphere Reserve2021 
2 biosphere reservesSary-Chelek19782013
 Issyk Kul20012013
3 biosphere reserveTasik Chini2009 
 Crocker Range2014 
 Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve2021 
3 biosphere reserveAddu Atoll2020 
 Baa Atoll2011 
2 biosphere reservesUtwe2005 
 And Atoll2007 
9 biosphere reservesGreat Gobi19902016
 Boghd Khan Uul19962016
 Uvs Nuur Basin19972016
 Hustai Nuruu20022015
 Dornod Mongol20052017
 Mongol Daguur2007 
 Uvs Lake Depression Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Mongolia – Russian Federation)2021 (encompasses previously designated biosphere reserves) 
 Khuvsgul Lake2022 
2 biosphere reservesInlay Lake2015 
2 biosphere reserveLal Suhanra19781998, 2014
 Ziarat Juniper Forest2013 
1 biosphere reserveNgaremeduu2005 
3 biosphere reservesPuerto Galera19772014
4 biosphere reservesHurulu19771998, 2014
 Sinharaja19781998, 2004, 2014
 Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya (KDN)20042014
5 biosphere reservesSakaerat19761999, 2015
 Hauy Tak Teak19771999, 2014
 Mae Sa-Kog Ma19771999, 2015
 Ranong19972011, 2014
 Doi Chiang Dao Biosphere Reserve2021 
1 biosphere reserveRepetek19782005, 2017
2 biosphere reservesMount Chatkal19781999, 2015
 Lower Amudarya State Biosphere Reserve2021 
11 biosphere reservesCan Gio Mangrove20012011
 Dong Nai2001 (former Cat Tien, 2001 – extended in 2011)2011
 Cat Ba20042015
 Red River Delta2004 
 Kien Giang20062017
 Western Nghe An2007 
 Mui Ca Mau2009 
 Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An2009 
 Nui Chua Biosphere Reserve2021 
 Kon ha Nung Biosphere Reserve2021 

The largest biosphere reserve in Southeast Asia

In addition, Vietnam joined UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) in 2000. The WNBR consists of a network of sites called Biosphere Reserves, aimed at integrating people and nature for sustainable development. So far, UNESCO has designated eight such voluntary Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam. The Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve, designated in 2007, is the largest of these reserves.

Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve

With an area of 1.3 million hectares, Western Nghe shares 440 kilometers (about 273 miles) of its boundary with neighboring Laos. The biosphere reserve contains three important protected areas – Pu Mat National Park, Pu Huong Nature Reserve and Pu Hoat Nature Reserve – home to several threatened, rare and endemic species. Western Nghe An also has many ethnic groups residing within, such as the Thai, Mong, Tay Poong and Kho Mu.

While Western Nghe An was recognized as a biosphere reserve in 2007, it was only in 2011 that the Nghe An People’s Community officially accepted UNESCO’s recognition.

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