What is Protected Area?

Protected areas (PA) can take on many different forms, such as national parks, wilderness areas, community conserved areas, nature reserves and privately owned reserves. According to IUCN, “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”

Beginning of the 20th century, there were only a handful of protected areas in the world, although many have existed for generations. Over time they have been recognized as a mainstay of biodiversity conservation as well as contributing to people’s livelihoods. Today, there are approximately 200,000 protected areas in the world, which cover around 14.6% of the world’s land and around 2.8% of the oceans.

Protected areas provide a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits to people and communities worldwide. They are a tried and tested approach that has been applied for centuries to conserve nature and associated cultural resources by local communities, indigenous peoples, governments and other organizations.

More than instruments for conserving nature, protected areas are vital to respond to some of today’s most pressing challenges, including food and water security, human health and well-being, disaster risk reduction and climate change.

As the world continues to develop at a rapid pace, pressure on ecosystems and natural resources intensifies. Protected areas, when governed and managed appropriately and embedded in development strategies, can provide nature-based solutions to this pressure, and take their place as an integral component of sustainable development.

Protected areas...

  • ... provide drinking water to one in three of the world’s 100 largest cities;
  • ... store the same amount of carbon as the tropical rainforests;
  • ... keep us healthy by being the source of clean air and water, as well as new medicines;
  • ... help reduce the risks and consequences of extreme events such as floods, storm-surges, drought and sea-level rise;
  • ... enhance food security by boosting fisheries and preserving wild relatives of crops; and
  • ... provide homes, jobs and livelihoods to millions of people around the world.

IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme

IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidelines


Latest news

May 27, 2019

Scholarship opportunity for PhD programme in the field of environment

PfK offers a unique opportunity for future leaders and influencers to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience Italian culture and build lasting positive relationships with Italy. The PfK PhD program provides a total of 19 MSc scholarships and 6 PhD Fellowships in the period 2019-2022 for citizens of Kenya, Mozambique, Tunisia, Pakistan, Albania, Lebanon and Ethiopia. The call for PhD applications for PfK scholarships is now...

Read more


May 1, 2019

Llogara-Karaburun-Orikum-Mt. Cika – a model for Natura 2000 in Albania

In the process of joining the European Union, candidate countries such as Albania, must transpose into their national legislation the requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the two legal pillars of Natura 2000 network. This process has been initiated in Albania within NaturAL, through consultative workshops with national biodiversity experts and participatory exercise with stakeholders and groups of interest that resulted in a preliminary list of...

Read more


April 17, 2019

Atlas 'Bats of Albania' published

Supported by the EU funded project NaturAL and led by Philippe Théou, rangers and experts from the Regional Administration of Protected Areas were monitoring the bat species occurrence in protected areas of Albania for several years, to understand them better and to assure more effective management of their habitats. The newly published Atlas: Bats of Albania summarizes the results of their work that confirms the importance of Albania for bat conservation in...

Read more


NaturAL

IPA 2013 - Natura 2000 and Protected Areas
Torre Drin, 5 Floor
Tirana, Albania
Tel: +35542240880/1/2/3
info@natura.al