Global update (December 2016)

Update on global statistics from Protected Planet Report 2016

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The global coverage of protected areas is constantly changing. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) that tracks these changes is updated on a monthly basis. The statistics in the Protected Planet Report are based on the April release of the World Database on Protected Areas. Since then, there have been several notable changes in the global protected area estate.

Coverage for terrestrial and inland waters

As of December 2016, 14.8% of the terrestrial and inland water areas are covered by protected areas. This is an increase of 0.1% (equivalent to 160,000 km²) since April 2016. Some of the most notable increases in the national coverage of the protected area network have been in Tanzania (6.3% increase), the Republic of Korea (3.6% increase) and Mexico (2.0% increase) (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Terrestrial protected area coverage. Sites added since April 2016 in red

Coverage for marine protected areas

As of December 2016, 5.1% of the global ocean and 12.7% of the coastal and marine areas under national jurisdiction are covered by marine protected areas. An additional 3.6 million km2 has been added to the marine protected area network since April 2016 contributing to an overall increase of 2.5% for areas under national jurisdiction. In areas beyond national jurisdiction, marine protected areas make up only 0.25% of the total area, showing no change since April 2016.

The vast majority of this increase results from five large sites being designated/expanded (Figure 2):

  • the creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park in Chile, which covers an area of a new 300,035km²;
  • the recent designation of St Helena's Marine Protected Area in the South Atlantic, covering an area of 444,916km²
  • the designation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary in the Western Pacific Ocean, covering an area of 500,000km²
  • the recent expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawai'i, USA, which has increased to just over 1.5 million km²
  • the designation of a marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands in the South Central Pacific Ocean, which covers an area greater than 800,000km².
  • the announcement of two further marine protected areas around Ascension Island (at 445,390km²) and Tristan da Cunha (at 750,510km²) are due to be designated by 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Figure 2. Marine protected area coverage. Sites added since April 2016 in red