Protected Areas| What is the difference between Biosphere Reserve and National Park

Protected areas are the areas that require protection because of their natural, ecological or cultural values. The following kinds of protected areas designated by IUCN are in India:

National parks, Wildlife sanctuaries, Biosphere reserves, Reserved and protected forests, Community reserves, Private protected areas

National parks

A national park is a reserved area of land owned by the government with the main aim to protect it from industrialization, human exploitation, and pollution.

National parks in India are under IUCN category II protected areas. The first national park of India was Hailey National Park established in 1936, now called Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand.

There are heavy restrictions in it.

Wildlife sanctuaries

A wildlife sanctuary is an area of nature owned by the government or a private agency with the aim to protect particular species of flora or fauna 

Wildlife sanctuaries of India are under IUCN Category IV protected areas.

There are less restrictions in it.

Biosphere reserves

A Biosphere reserve is to protect larger areas of natural habitat as compared to a national park or wildlife sanctuary, and sometimes it also includes one or more national parks, along with buffer zones that are open to some extent.
Protection is not only given to the flora (plants) and fauna(animals) but also to the human communities who live in these regions.

They are under IUCN Category V protected areas.

The Indian government has established 18 biosphere reserves.

There are moderate restrictions in it.


It is an international organization that works for the conservation of the flora and fauna.

It is a global union that is composed of both governments as well as 1400 civil society organizations as its members. 

  • It works in the sustainable development. It recommends measures to tackle the situation of depletion of resources.
  • It was established in 1948 to help the world conserve nature.
  • The IUCN’s Secretariat is in Gland, Switzerland.
  • Its function is to provide scientific knowledge and tools to aid conservation action.
  • It has a major role in the forming international conventions such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the World Heritage Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The IUCN is best known for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which was established in 1964.

Functions of IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

  • It provides scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies in the world.
  • It explains the importance of threatened biodiversity and makes the policies to protect it.
  • It influence national and international policies.

IUCN Global Youth Summit 2021 on nature: It was held online from 6th to 16th April 2021 in which more than 10,000 young people connect and exchange ideas online. It addresses topics like the relationship between people and nature, climate change, conservation of fresh water, technology and innovation. This summit was inspired by #NatureForAll.

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