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Protected areas of India

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Title: Protected areas of India  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of national parks of India, Wildlife of India, Protected areas of Tamil Nadu, Fauna of India, Biosphere reserves of India
Collection: Protected Areas of India
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Protected areas of India

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.


  • Classification 1
    • National parks 1.1
    • Animal sanctuaries 1.2
    • Biosphere reserves 1.3
    • Reserved and protected forests 1.4
    • Conservation and community reserves 1.5
    • Village and panchayat Forests 1.6
    • Private protected areas 1.7
    • Conservation areas 1.8
  • See also 2
  • References 3


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

National parks

National parks (IUCN Category II): India's first national park was Hailey National Park, now Jim Corbett National Park, established in 1935. 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 residing in its world famous forests. 120 National Parks

Animal sanctuaries

Animal sanctuary (IUCN Category IV): India has over 500 animal sanctuaries, referred to as Wildlife Sanctuaries. Among these, the 48Tiger 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 Uttrakhand.

Biosphere reserves

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.

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

land trusts to help in the conservation effort, and providing limited means of protection.

Conservation areas

  • 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


  • 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)

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