Protected area

Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organizations involved.

The term "protected area" also includes Marine Protected Areas, the boundaries of which will include some area of ocean, and Transboundary Protected Areas that overlap multiple countries which remove the borders inside the area for conservation and economic purposes. There are over 161,000 protected areas in the world (as of October 2010)[1] with more added daily, representing between 10 and 15 percent of the world's land surface area.[2][3][4] By contrast, only 1.17% of the world's oceans is included in the world's ~6,800 Marine Protected Areas.[5]

Protected areas are essential for biodiversity conservation, often providing habitat and protection from hunting for threatened and endangered species. Protection helps maintain ecological processes that cannot survive in most intensely managed landscapes and seascapes.[6]

Protected areas by percentage per country
World map with total percentage of each country under protection.


Generally, protected areas are understood to be those in which human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. The definition that has been widely accepted across regional and global frameworks has been provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its categorisation guidelines for protected areas. The definition is as follows:

A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.[7]

Protection of natural resources

The objective of protected areas is to conserve biodiversity and to provide a way for measuring the progress of such conservation. Protected areas will usually encompass several other zones that have been deemed important for particular conservation uses, such as Important Bird Areas (IBA) and Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), Centres of Plant Diversity (CPD), Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA), Alliance for Zero Extinction Sites (AZE) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) among others. Likewise, a protected area or an entire network of protected areas may lie within a larger geographic zone that is recognised as a terrestrial or marine ecoregions (see, Global 200), or a crisis ecoregions for example.[8] As a result, Protected Areas can encompass a broad range of governance types. Indeed, governance of protected areas has emerged a critical factor in their success.

Subsequently, the range of natural resources that any one protected area may guard is vast. Many will be allocated primarily for species conservation whether it be flora or fauna or the relationship between them, but protected areas are similarly important for conserving sites of (indigenous) cultural importance and considerable reserves of natural resources such as;

  • Carbon stocks: Carbon emissions from deforestation account for an estimated 20% of global carbon emissions, so in protecting the worlds carbon stocks greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and longterm land cover change is prevented, which is an effective strategy in the struggle against global warming. Of all global terrestrial carbon stock, 15.2% is contained within protected areas. Protected areas in South America hold 27% of the world's carbon stock, which is the highest percentage of any country in both absolute terms and as a proportion of the total stock.[9]
  • Rainforests: 18.8% of the world's forest is covered by protected areas and sixteen of the twenty forest types have 10% or more protected area coverage. Of the 670 ecoregions with forest cover, 54% have 10% or more of their forest cover protected under IUCN Categories I – VI.[10]
  • Mountains: Nationally designated protected areas cover 14.3% of the world's mountain areas, and these mountainous protected areas made up 32.5% of the world's total terrestrial protected area coverage in 2009. Mountain protected area coverage has increased globally by 21% since 1990 and out of the 198 countries with mountain areas, 43.9% still have less than 10% of their mountain areas protected.[11]

Annual updates on each of these analyses are made in order to make comparisons to the Millennium Development Goals and several other fields of analysis are expected to be introduced in the monitoring of protected areas management effectiveness, such as freshwater and marine or coastal studies which are currently underway, and islands and drylands which are currently in planning.[12]

IUCN Protected Area Management Categories

Belianske Tatry
Strict Nature reserve Belianske Tatras in Slovakia.

Through its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the IUCN has developed six Protected Area Management Categories that define protected areas according to their management objectives, which are internationally recognised by various national governments and the United Nations.[13] The categories provide international standards for defining protected areas and encourage conservation planning according to their management aims.[14]

IUCN Protected Area Management Categories:


Black Opal Spring in Biscuit Basin
Black Opal Spring in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Yellowstone, the world's second official protected area (after Mongolia's Bogd Khan Mountain), was declared a protected area in 1872,[15] and it encompasses areas which are classified as both a National Park (Category II) and a Habitat Management Area (Category IV).[16]

Protected areas are cultural artifacts, and their story is entwined with that of human civilization. Protecting places and resources is by no means a modern concept, whether it be indigenous communities guarding sacred sites or the convention of European hunting reserves. Over 2000 years ago, royal decrees in India protected certain areas. In Europe, rich and powerful people protected hunting grounds for a thousand years. Moreover, the idea of protection of special places is universal: for example, it occurs among the communities in the Pacific ("tapu" areas) and in parts of Africa (sacred groves).

The oldest legally protected reserve recorded in history is the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, established by an ordinance dated 13 April 1776.[17] Other sources mention the 1778 approval of a protected area on then-Khan Uul, a mountain previous protected by local nomads for centuries in Mongolia, by then-ruling Qing China Tenger Tetgegch Khaan. However, the mass protected areas movement doesn't begin until late nineteenth-century in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, when other countries were quick to follow suit. While the idea of protected areas spread around the world in the twentieth century, the driving force was different in different regions. Thus, in North America, protected areas were about safeguarding dramatic and sublime scenery; in Africa, the concern was with game parks; in Europe, landscape protection was more common.[18]

Initially, protected areas were recognised on a national scale, differing from country to country until 1933, when an effort to reach an international consensus on the standards and terminology of protected areas took place at the International Conference for the Protection of Fauna and Flora in London.[19] At the 1962 First World Conference on National Parks in Seattle the effect the Industrial Revolution had had on the world's natural environment was acknowledged, and the need to preserve it for future generations was established.[20]

Since then, it has been an international commitment on behalf of both governments and non-government organisations to maintain the networks that hold regular revisions for the succinct categorisations that have been developed to regulate and record protected areas. In 1972, the Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment endorsed the protection of representative examples of all major ecosystem types as a fundamental requirement of national conservation programmes. This has become a core principle of conservation biology and has remained so in recent resolutions - including the World Charter for Nature in 1982, the Rio Declaration at the Earth Summit in 1992, and the Johannesburg Declaration 2002.

Recently, the importance of protected areas has been brought to the fore at the threat of human-induced global warming and the understanding of the necessity to consume natural resources in a sustainable manner. The spectrum of benefits and values of protected areas is recognised not only ecologically, but culturally through further development in the arena of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs). International programmes for the protection of representative ecosystems remain relatively progressive (considering the environmental challenges of globalisation with respect to terrestrial environments), with less advances in marine and freshwater biomes.


Swiss National Park 188
Schweizerischer National Park in the Swiss Alps is a Strict Nature Reserve (Category Ia).[21]
Elephant safari
The Jaldapara National Park in West Bengal, India is a Habitat Management Area (Category IV).[22]

How to manage areas protected for conservation brings up a range of challenges[4] - whether it be regarding the local population, specific ecosystems or the design of the reserve itself - and because of the many unpredicatable elements in ecology issues, each protected area requires a case-specific set of guidelines.[23]

Enforcing protected area boundaries is a costly and labour-heavy endeavour, particularly if the allocation of a new protected region places new restrictions on the use of resources by the native people which may lead to their subsequent displacement.[24] This has troubled relationships between conservationists and rural communities in many protected regions and is often why many Wildlife Reserves and National Parks face the human threat of poaching for the illegal bushmeat or trophy trades, which are resorted to as an alternative form of substinence.[4][25]

There is increasing pressure to take proper account of human needs when setting up protected areas and these sometimes have to be "traded off" against conservation needs. Whereas in the past governments often made decisions about protected areas and informed local people afterwards, today the emphasis is shifting towards greater discussions with stakeholders and joint decisions about how such lands should be set aside and managed. Such negotiations are never easy but usually produce stronger and longer-lasting results for both conservation and people.[26][27]

In some countries, protected areas can be assigned without the infrastructure and networking needed to substitute consumable resources and subtantiatively protect the area from development or misuse. The soliciting of protected areas may require regulation to the level of meeting demands for food, feed, livestock and fuel, and the legal enforcement of not only the protected area itself but also 'buffer zones' surrounding it, which may help to resist destabilisation.[28]


One of the main concerns regarding protected areas on land and sea is their effectiveness at preventing the ongoing loss of biodiversity. There are multiple case studies indicating the positive effects of protected areas on terrestrial and marine species. However, those cases do not represent the majority of protected areas. Several limitations that may preclude their success include: their small size and large isolation to each other (both of these factors influence the maintenance of species), their limited role at preventing the many factors affecting biodiversity (e.g. climate change, invasive species, pollution), their large cost and their increasing conflict with human demands for nature's goods and services.[4][29]

By area

Safety instructions on Lone Ranch Beach
Prohibited activities and safety instructions at a state park in Oregon

European Union

Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas established by the European Union across all Member States. It is made up of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated respectively under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive. 787,767 km2 (304,159 sq mi) are designated as terrestrial sites and 251,564 km2 (97,129 sq mi) as marine sites. Overall, 18 percent of the EU land mass is designated.[30]


Protected areas of India include National parks, Wildlife sanctuaries, Biosphere reserves, Reserved and protected forests, Conservation and community reserves, Communal forests, Private protected areas and Conservation areas.


O Parks, Wildlife, and Recreation is a Private Protected Area, also known as a 'Private Reserve' predominantly managed for biodiversity conservation, protected without formal government recognition and is owned and stewarded by the O corporation International.[31] O parks plays a particularly important role in conserving critical biodiversity in a section of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor known as the Paso del Istmo, located along the 12-mile-wide isthmus between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean.

United States

As of 31 January 2008, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, the United States had a total of 6,770 terrestrial nationally designated (federal) protected areas. These protected areas cover 2,607,131 km2 (1,006,619 sq mi), or 27.08 percent of the land area of the United States.[32] This is also one-tenth of the protected land area of the world.

See also


  1. ^ "Protected Planet". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  2. ^ A. 2010. Extent of the Global Network of Terrestrial Protected Areas. Conservation Biology 24(2):362-363
  3. ^ "unstats - Millennium Indicators". Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Mora C, Sale P (2011). "Ongoing global biodiversity loss and the need to move beyond protected areas: A review of the technical and practical shortcoming of protected areas on land and sea" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 434: 251–266. doi:10.3354/meps09214.
  5. ^ "IUCN - Global ocean protection : present status and future possibilities". 2010-11-22.
  6. ^ Dudley, N. (ed.) Guidelines for Appling Protected Areas Management Categories (IUCN: Switzerland, 2008)
  7. ^ "UNEP-WCMC About Protected Areas, Dudley, N. (ed.) Guidelines for Appling Protected Areas Management Categories (IUCN: Switzerland, 2008) p.8-9". Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Biodiversity".
  9. ^ Campbell, A., Miles. L., Lysenko, I., Hughes, A., Gibbs, H. Carbon Storage in Protected Areas: Technical Report (UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 2008)
  10. ^ Coad L., Burgess, N.D., Bomhard, B., and Besancon, C. Progress on the Convention on Biological Diversity's 2010 and 2012 Targets for Protected Area Coverage "Looking to the Future of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas" (Cambridge: UNEP-WCMC, 2009)
  11. ^ Rodríguez-Rodríguez, D., Bomhard, B., Fitzgerald, C. & Blyth, S. How much of the world's mountain area is protected? (Cambridge, UNEP-WCMC, 2009)
  12. ^ Bomhard, B., Butchart, S., Tracking Progress Towards the CBD's Targets for Protected Area Coverage and Management Effectiveness (UNEP-WCMC & BirdLife International, 2010)
  13. ^ "IUCN - Home". 2016-06-08.
  14. ^ Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, Published October, 2008 Archived 4 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Mongolia Sacred Mountains: Bogd Khan, Burkhan Khaldun, Otgon Tenger
  16. ^ "Yellowstone - Protected Planet".
  17. ^ cite web|url=
  18. ^ Phillips, A. A Short History of the International System of Protected Area Management Categories (WCPA Task Force on Protected Area Categories, 2007)
  19. ^ "IUCN - Home". October 2008. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  20. ^ The World's Protected Areas, Published January 2008
  21. ^ "Schweizerischer Nationalpark - Protected Planet".
  22. ^ "Jaldapara - Protected Planet".
  23. ^ Hermoso, Virgilio; Abell, Robin; Linke, Simon; Boon, Philip (2016). "The role of protected areas for freshwater biodiversity conservation: challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world". Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 26 (S1): 3–11. doi:10.1002/aqc.2681.
  24. ^ for Conservation: A Global Overview, Dan Brockington and Jim Igoe. Accessed: 18 April 2011
  25. ^ BBC News: A Battle for DR Congo's Wildlife
  26. ^ UNEP-WCMC About Protected Areas, Dudley, N. (ed.) Guidelines for Appling Protected Areas Management Categories (IUCN: Switzerland, 2008) p.12
  27. ^ Pringle, Robert M. (2017). "Upgrading protected areas to conserve wild biodiversity". Nature. 546 (7656): 91–99. doi:10.1038/nature22902. PMID 28569807.
  28. ^ " - Middle East's investments in African farmlands are rooted in food security fears".
  29. ^ Regos, Adrian; D'Amen, M; Titeux, Nicolas; Herrando, S; Guisan, A; Brotons, Lluis (2016). "Predicting the future effectiveness of protected areas for bird conservation in Mediterranean ecosystems under climate change and novel fire regime scenarios" (PDF). Diversity and Distributions. 22 (1): 83–96. doi:10.1111/ddi.12375.
  30. ^ "Natura 2000 Barometer".
  31. ^ "Home".
  32. ^ "Summary of protection by Country and Territory on the 31st January 2008". UNEP. World Database on Protected Areas. 2008-01-31. Archived from the original (XLS) on 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-04-13.

External links

ANSI escape code

ANSI escape sequences are a standard for in-band signaling to control the cursor location, color, and other options on video text terminals and terminal emulators. Certain sequences of bytes, most starting with Esc and '[', are embedded into the text, which the terminal looks for and interprets as commands, not as character codes.

ANSI sequences were introduced in the 1970s to replace vendor-specific sequences and became widespread in the computer equipment market by the early 1980s. They were used in development, scientific and commercial applications and later by the nascent bulletin board systems to offer improved displays compared to earlier systems lacking cursor movement, a primary reason they became a standard adopted by all manufacturers.

Although hardware text terminals have become increasingly rare in the 21st century, the relevance of the ANSI standard persists because most terminal emulators interpret at least some of the ANSI escape sequences in output text. A notable exception was DOS and older versions of the Win32 console of Microsoft Windows.

Antarctic Protected Area

An Antarctic Protected Area is an area protected under the Antarctic Treaty System. There are three types of Protected Areas under this system:

Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) under the Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora (1964 onwards) and Annex V to the Environment Protocol (2002)

Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) under Annex V of the Environment Protocol (2002)

Historic Site or Monument (HSM)Guidelines for scientists and other visitors have been developed to protect these areas.

Bearhole Lake Provincial Park and Protected Area

Bearhole Lake Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located 5 km east of the mining community of Tumbler Ridge, on the Alberta Plateau. Established in January 2001, the park includes 17,762 ha of land in the Boreal White and Black Spruce biogeoclimatic zones within the Kiskatinaw Plateau. It is transition zone with mixed wood forests including spruce, pine, and larch. Bearhole Lake, the headwaters of the Kiskatinaw River provides habitat for trumpeter swans, yellow perch, burbot, rainbow trout, and northern pike.

Cathedral Provincial Park and Protected Area

Cathedral Provincial Park and Protected Area, usually known as Cathedral Provincial Park and also as Cathedral Park, is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada. It is located east of E.C. Manning Provincial Park, south of BC Highway 3, and southeast of the town of Princeton and southwest of Keremeos. Its southern boundary is the border with the United States. Much of the park is the basin of the Ashnola River.

Close To The Edge Provincial Park and Protected Area

Close To The Edge Provincial Park and Protected Area is a provincial park and a protected area in British Columbia, Canada.

Coso Range Wilderness

The Coso Range Wilderness is a protected wilderness area in California in the northern end of the Coso Range.The area was designated as wilderness by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 and contains Joshua trees, creosote, and cactus as well as old mining areas.

Dune Za Keyih Provincial Park and Protected Area

Dune Za Keyih Provincial Park and Protected Area, also known as the Frog-Gataga Provincial Park, is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada. It is part of the larger Muskwa-Kechika Management Area and is located in the area of the Gataga River, between Denetiah Provincial Park, which lies west across the Kechika River, and Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park to its east. Established in 2001 as Frog-Gataga, the park is 330,254 ha. in area; its newer name is a Kaska Dena translation of Frog-Gataga.

Entiako Provincial Park

Entiako Provincial Park and Protected Area is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located on the south flank of the Nechako River watercourse . It was formerly part of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park until that park was broken up; its sibling parks from that change are Tweedsmuir North Provincial Park and Protected Area and Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.

Finlay-Russel Provincial Park and Protected Area

Finlay-Russel Provincial Park and Protected Area is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada. It is part of the larger Muskwa-Kechika Management Area.

Fintry Provincial Park and Protected Area

Fintry Provincial Park and Protected Area, also known as Fintry Estate, is a provincial park located in the town of Fintry, British Columbia, Canada. It is situated approximately 34 kilometres north of Kelowna and 49 kilometres south of Vernon on the westside of the Okanagan Lake.The estate's original manor house and octagonal dairy barn have been restored and are open for tours in the summer.

Campsites are located in close proximity to the lake and includes a nearby dock. A hike on the opposite side of the park also features a short but steep stair-climb to Fintry Falls of Shorts Creek, the park's main feature.

IUCN protected area categories

IUCN protected area categories, or IUCN protected area management categories, are categories used to classify protected areas in a system developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The enlisting of such areas is part of a strategy being used toward the conservation of the world's natural environment and biodiversity. The IUCN has developed the protected area management categories system to define, record, and classify the wide variety of specific aims and concerns when categorising protected areas and their objectives.

This categorisation method is recognised on a global scale by national governments and international bodies such as the United Nations and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Kakwa Provincial Park and Protected Area

Kakwa Provincial Park and Protected Area is a 170,890 ha provincial park in northeastern British Columbia, Canada. There are significant amounts of fish fossils there. The tallest mountains are Mount Sir Alexander (3270 m) and Mount Ida (3189 m). Fishing in Kakwa Lake is permitted. Snowmobiling is permitted on trails, meadows, and along mountain sides.

The Kakwa River originates in Kakwa Lake, at the core of the park. It is named for Kakwa, the Cree word for porcupine.

Key Habitat Site

A Key Habitat Site is a Canadian Wildlife Service designation for an area that supports at least 1% of the country's population of any migratory bird species, or subspecies, at any time. There may be overlap with areas designated as a migratory bird sanctuary or National Wildlife Area.

Marine protected area

Marine protected areas (MPA) are protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries or large lakes. These marine areas can come in many forms ranging from wildlife refuges to research facilities. MPAs restrict human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources. Such marine resources are protected by local, state, territorial, native, regional, national, or international authorities and differ substantially among and between nations. This variation includes different limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings and bans on removing or disrupting marine life. In some situations (such as with the Phoenix Islands Protected Area), MPAs also provide revenue for countries, potentially equal to the income that they would have if they were to grant companies permissions to fish.On 28 October 2016 in Hobart, Australia, the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources agreed to establish the first Antarctic and largest marine protected area in the world encompassing 1.55 million km2 (600,000 sq mi) in the Ross Sea. Other large MPAs are in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans, in certain exclusive economic zones of Australia and overseas territories of France, the United Kingdom and the United States, with major (990,000 square kilometres (380,000 sq mi) or larger) new or expanded MPAs by these nations since 2012—such as Natural Park of the Coral Sea, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area. When counted with MPAs of all sizes from many other countries, as of August 2016 there are more than 13,650 MPAs, encompassing 2.07% of the world's oceans, with half of that area – encompassing 1.03% of the world's oceans – receiving complete "no-take" designation.

National Recreation Area

A National Recreation Area (NRA) is a designation for a protected area in the United States.

Nechako Canyon Protected Area

Nechako Canyon Protected Area is a protected area of the BC Parks system, located on the Nechako River between Knewstubb Lake (formed by the Kenny Dam of the Nechako Diversion and Cheslatta Falls at the mouth of the Cheslatta River. The Nechako Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Nechako, is carved into a lava plateau and features erosive formations such as rock walls, overhanging cliffs, pinnacles and other formations, and the protected area includes Cheslatta Falls.

Seven Sisters Provincial Park and Protected Area

Seven Sisters Provincial Park and Protected Area is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, protecting part of the Howson Range between Hazelton and Terrace and comprising c. 27,200 ha.

Spruce Lake Protected Area

The Spruce Lake Protected Area, was a 71,347-hectare Protected Area in the British Columbia provincial parks system 200 km north of Vancouver. The area had been the subject of an ongoing preservationist controversy since the 1930s. Formerly known variously as the Southern Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, Southern Chilcotins, and also as South Chilcotin Provincial Park. In 2007, its status as a provincial park was downgraded to protected area.

Recreational activities included camping, hiking, cycling, swimming, fishing and hunting. There were walk-in wilderness camping sites. Wildlife in the protected area include grizzly bear, California bighorn sheep and wolverine.In June 2010, Bill 15 - created the South Chilcotin Mountains Park, a "Class A" park of 56,796 hectares from Spruce Lake Protected Area. The remaining approximately 14,550 hectares were set aside for tourism and mining, but commercial logging is still prohibited. The bill also confirmed the implementation of the 2004 decision for mining/tourism zones in the Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan area.

Sustut Provincial Park and Protected Area

Sustut Provincial Park and Protected Area is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located on the east side of the Sustut River and above the Bear River. Established by order-in-council in 2001, the park has an area of 75,037 ha. The park protects the Hogem Ranges and the Connelly Range and is in the traditional territories of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation and the Gitxsan First Nation.

Protected areas by country or territory

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