Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Panna Biosphere Reserve

Panna Biosphere Reserve UPSC

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is a significant ecological area located in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. It was designated as a biosphere reserve in 2020 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The reserve encompasses an area of approximately 2,998.98 square kilometers (1,157.51 square miles) and is situated in the Vindhya Range.

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is known for its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems. The reserve consists of diverse landscapes, including tropical forests, dry deciduous forests, and grasslands. It is traversed by the Ken River, which adds to the scenic beauty and ecological significance of the area. The river supports a variety of aquatic life and serves as a lifeline for the flora and fauna in the region.

In addition to its ecological importance, the Panna Biosphere Reserve holds cultural and historical significance. The area has archaeological sites dating back to the Paleolithic age, with rock paintings and cave art providing insights into the ancient human civilizations that once inhabited the region.

Table of Contents

  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Location
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve History
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Area
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Hills
    • Vindhya Range
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve River
    • Ken River
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Tribe
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Flora
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Top Things to do in Panna Biosphere Reserve
  • Panna Biosphere Reserve UPSC Questions

Panna Biosphere Reserve Location

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in central India. It is situated in the Vindhya mountain range in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh. The reserve is bordered by the Ken River, which flows through its core area, providing a natural boundary. 

The nearest town to the reserve is Khajuraho, famous for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Khajuraho Group of Monuments, which is approximately 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the Panna Biosphere Reserve is the Khajuraho Airport. It is located approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the reserve. The Khajuraho Airport has regular domestic flights connecting it to major cities in India.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to the Panna Biosphere Reserve is the Khajuraho Railway Station. It is situated around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the reserve. The Khajuraho Railway Station is well-connected to several major cities in India through regular train services.

Panna Biosphere Reserve History

Panna Biosphere Reserve Established

The history of the Panna Biosphere Reserve is rich and diverse, spanning over centuries of human civilization and environmental changes. Here are some key historical aspects of the reserve:

Ancient Civilization: The region surrounding the Panna Biosphere Reserve has a long history of human habitation. Archaeological evidence, including rock paintings and cave art, suggests that the area was inhabited by ancient human civilizations, possibly dating back to the Paleolithic age.

Hunting Grounds: During various periods of history, the region served as hunting grounds for local rulers and nobles. Wildlife was abundant in the area, including tigers, which were pursued by the royalty for their sport and recreation.

Colonial Era: During the British colonial period, the region came under their administrative control. The British recognized the area's natural resources and established forest reserves to manage and exploit them for their commercial value, leading to significant changes in the landscape and wildlife populations.

Decline of Wildlife: Over time, excessive hunting and habitat destruction had a severe impact on the wildlife populations in the region, leading to a decline in several species, including the iconic Bengal tiger.

Establishment of the Panna National Park: In 1981, the Indian government declared Panna a national park to protect its unique flora and fauna, especially the critically endangered tigers. The park covered an area of about 542 square kilometers (209 square miles).

Panna Tiger Reserve: In 1994, Panna National Park was merged with the adjacent Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary to form the Panna Tiger Reserve. The merging of these two areas created a larger and more contiguous habitat for wildlife.

Biosphere Reserve: In 2011, it was notified as a Biosphere Reserve by the government of India.

Panna Biosphere Reserve UNESCO

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Designation: In 2020, the Panna Tiger Reserve was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve under Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) , acknowledging its importance as a unique and valuable ecological area. The biosphere reserve status signifies a commitment to biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and research within the region.

Note- The Panna Biosphere Reserve is the third in Madhya Pradesh to be included in the list after Pachmarhi and Amarkantak.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Area

The Panna Biosphere Reserve encompasses an area of approximately 2,998.98 square kilometers (1,157.51 square miles). This area includes the core zone, buffer zone, and transition zone designated under the biosphere reserve framework. 

  • Core area(s) : 792.53 sq. Km.
  • Buffer zone(s) : 987.20 sq. Km.
  • Transition zone(s): 1219.25 sq. Km.
  • Total:  2,998.98 sq. Km.

The Panna Biosphere Reserve includes-

  • Panna National Park
  • Three sections of the Gangau wildlife Sanctuary (I, III and IV)
  • Reserved Forests of the North Panna Forest Division

The core zone is the primary area of conservation focus and includes the Panna National Park and parts of the Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary. The buffer zone surrounds the core zone and acts as a buffer area, allowing for sustainable development and human activities. The transition zone is the outermost area of the biosphere reserve and facilitates the integration of conservation and development practices. 

Panna Biosphere Reserve Hills

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is located in the Vindhya Range, which is a series of hills and plateaus in central India. The reserve itself is characterized by diverse landscapes, including hills, plateaus, forests, grasslands, and river valleys.

While the reserve is not primarily known for having towering peaks or high mountain ranges, it does have undulating hills and elevated plateaus that form a part of the Vindhya Range. These hills and plateaus contribute to the region's varied topography, making it an important area for biodiversity and wildlife.

The presence of hills and plateaus within the biosphere reserve provides varied habitats for different flora and fauna species, making it an ecologically important region. The elevation changes also create diverse microclimates and ecosystems, contributing to the overall richness of the Panna Biosphere Reserve.

Panna Biosphere Reserve River

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is traversed by the Ken River, which is a prominent river in central India. The Ken River is a major lifeline for the flora, fauna, and local communities within the reserve.

The Ken River originates near the village of Ahirgawan in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. It flows in a northeasterly direction, passing through the Panna Biosphere Reserve. The river plays a crucial role in shaping the landscape and ecology of the region. Ken River is one of the least polluted tributaries of the Yamuna River.

The Ken River serves as a source of water for the diverse habitats within the biosphere reserve, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands. It sustains a wide range of aquatic life, including fish species and other aquatic organisms. The river also supports the vegetation along its banks, providing habitat for various plant species.

Ken River (one of the least polluted tributaries of the Yamuna River) flows through the reserve and the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project will also be located in it.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Tribe

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is home to several indigenous tribes and communities that have a long-standing connection with the land and its resources. These tribes have their unique cultural identities, traditions, and ways of life. The presence of these tribes adds to the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

Some of the tribes found in and around the Panna Biosphere Reserve include:

(1) Gond Tribe:

The Gond tribe is present in the region surrounding the Panna Biosphere Reserve. They are one of the largest indigenous communities in central India and have a significant presence in Madhya Pradesh. The Gond people have their distinct language, Gondi, and are known for their rich cultural heritage, art, music, and dance forms. Within the Gond tribe, there are various subgroups or clans, such as Rajgond, Nandgond, and Saurgond.

(2) Khairuas:

Khairuas, also known as Khairwar, is another tribal community found in Madhya Pradesh, including areas near the Panna Biosphere Reserve. They have their own cultural traditions, including unique rituals, dance forms, and music. Historically, the Khairuas have been associated with forest-based livelihoods and have traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.

(3) Yadavas (Dauvas):

Yadavas, also referred to as Dauvas, are not typically considered a tribal community. They are a social group or caste in India with a diverse presence across different regions. The Yadavas have a significant population in various parts of the country, including Madhya Pradesh. They have their own customs, practices, and occupations.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Flora

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is characterized by diverse flora, with a wide range of plant species found within its boundaries. The reserve encompasses various ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and river valleys, each supporting unique plant communities. 

Here are some notable flora found in the Panna Biosphere Reserve:

(1) Dry Deciduous Forest Species:

The predominant vegetation type in the reserve is dry deciduous forest, consisting of trees that shed their leaves during the dry season. Species such as teak (Tectona grandis), sal (Shorea robusta), mahua (Madhuca longifolia), tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), bamboo (Bambusa spp.), and jamun (Syzygium cumini) are commonly found.

(2) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:

The region is rich in medicinal and aromatic plants that have been traditionally used by local communities for their health benefits. Species like neem (Azadirachta indica), amla (Emblica officinalis), safed musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum), kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) can be found in the biosphere reserve.

(3) Riparian Vegetation:

Along the banks of the Ken River and other water bodies, a variety of riparian vegetation thrives. Trees such as Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica), Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), and grasses like Saccharum spp. and Phragmites spp. are commonly found in these areas.

(4) Grasslands and Wetlands:

The Panna Biosphere Reserve also features grasslands and wetlands, which provide important habitats for numerous plant species. Various grass species, sedges, and aquatic plants like water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) and lotuses (Nelumbo spp.) can be found in these areas.

(5) Epiphytic Flora:

The reserve is also home to a range of epiphytic plants, which grow on the trunks and branches of trees without being parasitic. Orchids, ferns, mosses, and lichens are some examples of epiphytic flora found in the Panna Biosphere Reserve.

Panna Biosphere Reserve Fauna (Panna Biosphere Reserve Animals)

The Panna Biosphere Reserve is renowned for its diverse and rich fauna, with a wide range of animal species found within its boundaries. The reserve's varied ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and river valleys, provide habitats for numerous wildlife species. 

Here are some notable fauna found in the Panna Biosphere Reserve:


  • Bengal Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Siyah Gosh
  • Jungle Cat
  • Sloth Bear
  • Indian Wolf
  • Four-Horned Antelope
  • Chital
  • Sambar Deer
  • Chinkara
  • Nilgai
  • Indian Wild Dog
  • Indian Giant Squirrel
  • Indian Pangolin
  • Indian Hare
  • Indian Fox
  • Indian Palm Civet
  • Common Langur


  • Indian Peafowl
  • King Vulture
  • Indian Vulture
  • Bar-headed Goose
  • Indian Roller
  • White-bellied Drongo
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Grey-headed Fish Eagle
  • Painted Francolin
  • Asian Paradise Flycatche
  • Indian Pitta
  • Black-winged Kite
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard
  • Changeable Hawk-Eagle 
  • Blue-bearded Bee-eater


  • Mugger Crocodile
  • Indian Rock Python
  • Common Monitor Lizard 
  • Indian Chameleon 
  • Indian Cobra
  • Russell's Viper
  • Indian Rat Snake

Top Things to do in Panna Biosphere Reserve

When visiting the Panna Biosphere Reserve, there are several activities and experiences that you can enjoy. Here are some top things to do in the Panna Biosphere Reserve:

  • Wildlife Safari
  • Bird Watching
  • Nature Walks and Hiking
  • Boat Safari on the Ken River
  • Village Visits and Cultural Experiences
  • Visit Pandav Falls
  • Nature Photography
  • Eco-friendly Accommodation
  • Explore Nearby Cultural and Historical Sites
  • Participate in Conservation Initiatives

Panna Biosphere Reserve UPSC Questions

Q. Panna Biosphere Reserve in which state?/Which district is Panna Biosphere Reserve in?/Where is Panna Biosphere Reserve?

A. The Panna Biosphere Reserve is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh in central India.

Q. When was Panna Biosphere Reserve established?

A. Panna Biosphere Reserve was established by government of India in 2011.

Q. When Panna Biosphere Reserve is recognised by UNESCO?

A. Panna Biosphere Reserve is recognised by UNESCO in 2020.

Q. What is the Panna Biosphere Reserve famous for?

A. The Panna Biosphere Reserve is famous for several reasons. Here are some of its notable features and achievements:

  • Bengal Tiger Conservation
  • Rich Biodiversity
  • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Scenic Landscapes
  • Conservation Initiatives

Panna Biosphere Reserve

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