From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Mahendragiri Hills
Mains level : Biosphere reserves in India
The Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri, a hill ecosystem having a rich biodiversity.
The 5,569-square kilometre Similipal Biosphere Reserve is Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified May 20, 1996.
- Mahendragiri is a mountain in the Rayagada subdivision of the district of Gajapati, Odisha, India.
- It is situated amongst the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1,501 metres.
- The hill and its surrounding areas are recognized as a biodiversity hot spot due to numerous medicinal plants and other species that are found here.
- Mahendragiri is inhabited by the Soura people, a particularly vulnerable tribal group as well as the Kandha tribe.
Try this PYQ:
Q.From the ecological point of view, which one of the following assumes importance in being a good link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats? (CSP 2018)
(a) Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
(b) Nallamala Forest
(c) Nagarhole National Park
(d) Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve
Why designate it as a biosphere reserve?
- The area of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is around 470,955 hectares and is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
- The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas, making the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversities.
- The rich flora in Mahendragiri represents 40 per cent of the reported flora of Odisha, with around 1,358 species of plants.
Back2Basics: Biosphere Reserves
- A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment.
- Each reserve aims to help scientists and the environmental community figure out how to protect the world’s plant and animal species while dealing with a growing population and its resource needs.
- To carry out the complementary activities of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biosphere reserves are traditionally organized into 3 interrelated zones, known as:
- the core area
- the buffer zone and
- a transition zone or ‘area of cooperation