Agasthyamala among 20 world biosphere reserves

India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by the U.N’s top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The International Co-ordinating Council added the new sites during a two-day meeting on Saturday in Lima, capital of Peru, bringing the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries, including 16 transboundary sites.

The newly adopted sites include 18 national site and one transboundary site shared between Spain and Portugal.

“Located in the Western Ghats, in the south of India, the Agasthyamala biosphere reserve includes peaks reaching 1,868 metres above sea level. Consisting mostly of tropical forests, the site is home to 2,254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic,” UNESCO said.

“It is also a unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants especially cardamom, jamune, nutmeg, pepper and plantain. Three wildlife sanctuaries, Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar and Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve are included in the site,” it said.

The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was established in 2001 and is spread across the two states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

(Agency)

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