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

January 25, 2019

Promoting the co-existence of the inhabitants with nature and tourism development with nature protection

A newly refurbished and renovated visitor centre in Llogara National Park today opens its doors for the tourists and nature lovers. The investment of European Union through its project NaturAL - Strengthening National capacity in Nature Protection preparation for Natura 2000 network - has transformed the Visitor Centre into an innovative point of reference providing comprehensive information on the natural ecosystem as well as its management, through the work...

Read more


January 16, 2019

#AlbanianWetlands photo contest

The contest takes place on NaturAL Facebook page (@NaturaAlbania) from 16 to 27 January 2019. To enter, share a photo from Albania, in one of the following three categories: 1. Waterbird, 2. Wetland and 3. Threats affecting wetlands, on Facebook using the tags #AlbanianWetlands, #KeepWetlands and #IWP019 and @NaturaAlbania. Show us why are wetlands important? Why should we care about the Albanian wetlands and birds that live/rest there? What is threatening...

Read more


January 10, 2019

Identifying potential Natura 2000 sites

Teams of scientists and experts have initiated the work on Natura 2000 sites identification in Albania, applying the participatory ecological method. Their approach and results were introduced to key stakeholders in summer 2018 in Llogara National Park, during the first in a series of workshops. Sites for the Natura 2000 Network are selected on scientific grounds. The first step each EU Member State has to make is the identification of important locations for...

Read more


NaturAL

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