The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GOMBR) is located in the southeastern tip of Tamil Nadu extending from Rameswaram in the North to Kanyakumari in the south. The extent of GOMBR is 10,500 with the core area covering 560 km, having 3,600 species of fauna and flora. More than 85 species of fauna and flora are under threat from this area for its continued survival. The GOMBR area is extending from Rameswaram to Tuticorin. It comprises of 21 Islands and this is the first Indian marine national park which is internationally recognised under the UNESCO-MAB programme. The IUCN commission on national parks and WWF identified the reserve as an area of particular concern because of its richest biodiversity and multiple use of the area.

The inhabitants are mainly Marakeyars, local people principally engaged in fisheries. There are about 47 villages along the coastal part of the biosphere reserve which support some 100,000 people. The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has provided support to the establishment of the biosphere reserve, including the setting up and functioning of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust, which is responsible for the coordination of the management plan for the biosphere reserve in concertation with government agencies, private entrepreneurs, and local people’s representatives. Priority is being given to encouraging community-based management. Major ecosystem type Islands including coastal/marine component; coral reefs and mangrove major habitats & land cover types

I.      Ecological Importance

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