Protected areas
< < >-< OECD.Stat
Open all groups and itemsClose all groups and itemsSend link via emailPrintOpen in stand alone windowClose this window
Click to expand Source
Click to collapse Source
Click to expand Contact person/organisation
Click to collapse Contact person/organisation
Click to expand Data source(s) used
Click to collapse Data source(s) used

Protected areas: UNEP-WCMC World Database on Protected Areas April 2018 release
Boundaries: A harmonised terrestrial and marine boundary dataset created by JRC's Digital Observatory on Protected Areas (http://dopa.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) is used. This is adapted from FAO GAUL (2015) for terrestrial boundaries and VLIZ Exclusive Economic Zones, v9 (2016) for marine boundaries. Dataset preparation is documented in Bastin et al. (2017).

UNEP-WCMC and IUCN (2018), Protected Planet: The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)  April 2018, Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC and IUCN. Available at: http://www.protectedplanet.net/.
Bastin, L., Mandrici, A., Battistella, L., Dubois, G. (2017). Processing Conservation Indicators with Open Source Tools: Lessons Learned from the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas. In: Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference Proceedings: Vol. 17 , Article 14. August 14-19, 2017, Boston, MA, USA. dx.doi.org/10.7275/R5XK8CQS
FAO (2015), The Global Administrative Unit Layers (GAUL) 2014 dataset, implemented by FAO within the CountrySTAT and Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) projects. Available at
http://www.fao.org/geonetwork/srv/en/main.home.
Flanders Marine Institute (2016), Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Maritime Boundaries and Exclusive Economic Zones (200NM), version 9. Available at https://doi.org/10.14284/242.

Click to expand Data Characteristics
Click to collapse Data Characteristics
Click to expand Date last updated
Click to collapse Date last updated

May 2018

Click to expand Concepts & Classifications
Click to collapse Concepts & Classifications
Click to expand Key statistical concept
Click to collapse Key statistical concept

Methodology paper

This dataset answers the questions: how extensive are protected areas and what management objectives are pursued via protected area designation?

This dataset provides country-level protected area coverage for the terrestrial and marine domains calculated from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). It includes a disaggregation by IUCN management category in the following ways:

  • Total for category is the total area protected under that IUCN management designation. Note that because overlaps among protected areas are relatively common, the total protected area for a country is typically less than the sum of the disaggregated areas.
  • Erased against precedent categories treats the IUCN categories as a hierarchy and reports the area protected under each designation excluding any area which is already designated at a precedent category in the hierarchy. The order of precedence used is Ia>Ib>II>III>IV>V>VI>No category. The total protected area is equal to the sum of the disaggregated areas. 

IUCN management category definitions are detailed at: https://www.iucn.org/theme/protected-areas/about/protected-area-categories

Some countries have some protected areas recorded as points with a reported area. This point data is more uncertain than protected areas reported as polygons because overlaps cannot be identified or resolved. For this reason the total for countries is provided with and without the inclusion of the total reported area of protected areas recorded as points.

Limitations
Protected areas are not necessarily sited optimally with respect to biodiversity conservation objectives.

The indicator presented here does not provide any indication of whether protected areas are effectively managed or enforced.

In practice, some of the ‘No Category' and the internationally and regionally designated protected areas meet the definition of a specific IUCN category (e.g. Natura 2000 sites arguably meet the definition of IUCN cat. IV); however, they are not currently recorded as such in the WDPA database and therefore are included under ‘No IUCN category'

Not all protected areas have a designation date recorded. When there is no designation date the protected area is deemed to have always existed, therefore historical data maybe be overestimated.

Differences between different sources of protected area coverage information arise from several issues including the definitions of terrestrial, coastal, and marine areas; the country baselines used; the definition of a country (e.g. which overseas territories are included); areal calculation technique used; how protected areas recorded as points are treated; time lag between national or regional data and updates to the WDPA; uncertainty about whether a particular type of protected area designation meets the definition of a protected area; and to which of the IUCN categories a protected area belongs. The WDPA also includes data from non-governmental data providers which may not be included in national databases.

Other methodological notes:

No protected area data for Turkey is submitted to the WDPA.

Some marine areas are shared between countries in joint regimes or there are unresolved overlapping claims to an area. In these cases, the entire relevant area (and protected areas therein) are attributed to all countries involved. Aggregate results (i.e. OECD total) are calculated such that these areas are only counted once - and therefore do not necessarily match the total reported values of their constituent countries.   

When defining geographical coverage, the rule applied is that if an affiliated country/territory has its own ISO 3166-1 code then it is not included in the 'parent' code. The exception is Clipperton Island (France) which has been given the code CPT even though it does not have an individual official ISO 3166-1 entry. For AUS, DNK, GBR, FRA, NLD, NOR, NZD and USA additional results are provided that include affiliated countries or territories overseas. These results are coded as (e.g.) 'France unspecified' in the list of available countries. The metadata entry for these codes lists the affiliated countries/territories included. 

A more complete description of the methodology and motivation for this dataset is available here:  http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/indicators-on-terrestrial-and-marine-protected-areas_e0796071-en
Note that there have been some methodological changes in subsequent updates:
    -The analysis is performed using a raster representation of protected areas at a 300m resolution. This was necessary to handle increasing data volumes and complexity.
    -The boundary data used has changed

Protected areasContact person/organisation
env.stat@oecd.org
Data source(s) used

Protected areas: UNEP-WCMC World Database on Protected Areas April 2018 release
Boundaries: A harmonised terrestrial and marine boundary dataset created by JRC's Digital Observatory on Protected Areas (http://dopa.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) is used. This is adapted from FAO GAUL (2015) for terrestrial boundaries and VLIZ Exclusive Economic Zones, v9 (2016) for marine boundaries. Dataset preparation is documented in Bastin et al. (2017).

UNEP-WCMC and IUCN (2018), Protected Planet: The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)  April 2018, Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC and IUCN. Available at: http://www.protectedplanet.net/.
Bastin, L., Mandrici, A., Battistella, L., Dubois, G. (2017). Processing Conservation Indicators with Open Source Tools: Lessons Learned from the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas. In: Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference Proceedings: Vol. 17 , Article 14. August 14-19, 2017, Boston, MA, USA. dx.doi.org/10.7275/R5XK8CQS
FAO (2015), The Global Administrative Unit Layers (GAUL) 2014 dataset, implemented by FAO within the CountrySTAT and Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) projects. Available at
http://www.fao.org/geonetwork/srv/en/main.home.
Flanders Marine Institute (2016), Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Maritime Boundaries and Exclusive Economic Zones (200NM), version 9. Available at https://doi.org/10.14284/242.

Date last updated

May 2018

Key statistical concept

Methodology paper

This dataset answers the questions: how extensive are protected areas and what management objectives are pursued via protected area designation?

This dataset provides country-level protected area coverage for the terrestrial and marine domains calculated from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). It includes a disaggregation by IUCN management category in the following ways:

  • Total for category is the total area protected under that IUCN management designation. Note that because overlaps among protected areas are relatively common, the total protected area for a country is typically less than the sum of the disaggregated areas.
  • Erased against precedent categories treats the IUCN categories as a hierarchy and reports the area protected under each designation excluding any area which is already designated at a precedent category in the hierarchy. The order of precedence used is Ia>Ib>II>III>IV>V>VI>No category. The total protected area is equal to the sum of the disaggregated areas. 

IUCN management category definitions are detailed at: https://www.iucn.org/theme/protected-areas/about/protected-area-categories

Some countries have some protected areas recorded as points with a reported area. This point data is more uncertain than protected areas reported as polygons because overlaps cannot be identified or resolved. For this reason the total for countries is provided with and without the inclusion of the total reported area of protected areas recorded as points.

Limitations
Protected areas are not necessarily sited optimally with respect to biodiversity conservation objectives.

The indicator presented here does not provide any indication of whether protected areas are effectively managed or enforced.

In practice, some of the ‘No Category' and the internationally and regionally designated protected areas meet the definition of a specific IUCN category (e.g. Natura 2000 sites arguably meet the definition of IUCN cat. IV); however, they are not currently recorded as such in the WDPA database and therefore are included under ‘No IUCN category'

Not all protected areas have a designation date recorded. When there is no designation date the protected area is deemed to have always existed, therefore historical data maybe be overestimated.

Differences between different sources of protected area coverage information arise from several issues including the definitions of terrestrial, coastal, and marine areas; the country baselines used; the definition of a country (e.g. which overseas territories are included); areal calculation technique used; how protected areas recorded as points are treated; time lag between national or regional data and updates to the WDPA; uncertainty about whether a particular type of protected area designation meets the definition of a protected area; and to which of the IUCN categories a protected area belongs. The WDPA also includes data from non-governmental data providers which may not be included in national databases.

Other methodological notes:

No protected area data for Turkey is submitted to the WDPA.

Some marine areas are shared between countries in joint regimes or there are unresolved overlapping claims to an area. In these cases, the entire relevant area (and protected areas therein) are attributed to all countries involved. Aggregate results (i.e. OECD total) are calculated such that these areas are only counted once - and therefore do not necessarily match the total reported values of their constituent countries.   

When defining geographical coverage, the rule applied is that if an affiliated country/territory has its own ISO 3166-1 code then it is not included in the 'parent' code. The exception is Clipperton Island (France) which has been given the code CPT even though it does not have an individual official ISO 3166-1 entry. For AUS, DNK, GBR, FRA, NLD, NOR, NZD and USA additional results are provided that include affiliated countries or territories overseas. These results are coded as (e.g.) 'France unspecified' in the list of available countries. The metadata entry for these codes lists the affiliated countries/territories included. 

A more complete description of the methodology and motivation for this dataset is available here:  http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/indicators-on-terrestrial-and-marine-protected-areas_e0796071-en
Note that there have been some methodological changes in subsequent updates:
    -The analysis is performed using a raster representation of protected areas at a 300m resolution. This was necessary to handle increasing data volumes and complexity.
    -The boundary data used has changed