Arittapatti village in Madurai district declared as a biodiversity heritage site

The Tamil Nadu government issued a notification declaring the Arittapatti village near Melur in Madurai district as a biodiversity heritage site under Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

The site is situated in an area of 193.21 hectare and is the first Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) to be notified in the state. The village has a rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species, including three flagship raptor species – Laggar Falcon (Falco jugger), Shaheen Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) and wildlife such as Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Python (Python molurus) and Slender Loris (Loris spp).

The site also features various megalithic structures, Tamil Brahmi Inscriptions, Jain Beds and 2200-year-old rock-cut temples adding to its historical value.


Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. This diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. Biodiversity also includes genetic differences within each species – for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock. Chromosomes, genes, and DNA-the building blocks of life-determine the uniqueness of each individual and each species.

Yet another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems such as those that occur in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, and agricultural landscapes. In each ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community, interacting with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them.

Protecting biodiversity is in our self-interest. Biological resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Nature’s products support such diverse industries as agriculture, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, horticulture, construction and waste treatment. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines and energy. It also interferes with essential ecological functions.

India is a mega diverse nation, housing around 10% of world’s species.Out of the 18 hotspots of diversity recognized in the world, India has two of them: Eastern Himalaya and Western Ghat.

List of Biosphere Reserves of India

The first of India’s reserves to make it to UNESCO’s list was Tamil Nadu’s Niligiri Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Besides this, West Bengal’s tiger-territory Sunderbans, Meghalaya’s Nokrek (home to the red panda) and the Great Nicobar (known for its saltwater crocodiles) have been included in the Network over the years.

Sl. NoYearNameStateTypeKey Fauna
12008Great Rann of Kutch  GujaratDesertIndian Wild Ass
21989Gulf of MannarTamil NaduCoastsDugong or Sea Cow
31989SundarbansWest BengalGangetic DeltaRoyal Bengal Tiger
42009Cold DesertHimachal PradeshWestern HimalayasSnow Leopard
51988Nanda DeviUttarakhandWestern HimalayasNA
61986 Nilgiri BR ReserveT&N, Kerala  KarnatakaWestern GhatsNilgiriTahr, Lion-tailed macaque
71998Dihang-DibangArunachal PradeshEastern HimalayaNA
81999Pachmarhi BRMadhya PradeshSemi-AridGiant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel
92010Seshachalam HillsAndhra PradeshEastern GhatsNA
101994SimlipalOdishaDeccan PeninsulaGaur, Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild elephant
112005Achanakamar -AmarkantakMadhya Pradesh, ChhattisgarhMaikala HillsNA
121989ManasAssamEast HimalayasGolden Langur, Red Panda
132000KhangchendzongaSikkimEast HimalayasSnow Leopard, Red Panda
142001Agasthyamalai BRKerala, TNWestern ghatsNilgiri Tahr, Elephants
151989Great Nicobar BRAndaman and Nicobar IslandsIslandsSaltwater Crocodile
161988NokrekMeghalayaEast HimalayasRed Panda
171997Dibru-SaikhowaAssamEast HimalayasGolden Langur
182011PannaMadhya PradeshKen RiverTiger, Chital, Chinkara, Sambharand Sloth bear

Ten of the eighteen biosphere reserves of India are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list. They are given in ‘bold’ in the above list.( Gulf of Mannar, Nokrek, Great Nicobar, Agasthyamalai, Achanakamar –Amarkantak, Simlipal, Pachmarhi, Nilgiri, Nanda Devi, Sundarbans).


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