Protected Areas

Status and Trends

status for terrestrial good; improvements in representation continue

Healthy, improving at a slow to moderate rate

status for marine poor; progress in identifying areas for protection

Impaired, improving at a slow to moderate rate

trends are clear

High confidence in finding

KEY FINDING 8. Both the extent and representativeness of the protected areas network have increased in recent years. In many places, the area protected is well above the United Nations 10% target. It is below the target in highly developed areas and the oceans.

This key finding is divided into four sections:

Protected areas are usually set aside to protect biodiversity or cultural resources.1 While some protected areas are managed exclusively for biodiversity, others allow recreational opportunities and still others allow resource use under management regimes that do not jeopardize the long-term sustainability of the natural environment. Protected areas are important because they provide places where ecological processes can evolve, refuges for species at risk, and repositories of genetic material. They also provide opportunities for recreation, spiritual renewal, and the conservation of places of cultural value. Protected areas are one tool for the protection of biodiversity. Sustainable management outside protected areas is equally important.


Global Trends

More than 12% of the world’s land and 5.9% of territorial seas are in protected areas. Protected areas are not distributed evenly. Fifty-six percent of global terrestrial ecoregions and 18% of the marine ecoregions have reached the 10% protected areas benchmark set by the Convention on Biological Diversity.3







Key finding overview