Protected Planet Report 2016: data, maps & figures (April 2016)

The Protected Planet Report uses the April 2016 release of the World Database on Protected Areas.A total of 217,155 designated protected areas from 244 countries and territories were included (202,467 terrestrial and 14,688 marine). These include all protected areas designated at a national level, those under regional agreements (e.g. Natura 2000 network), and those under regional and international conventions or agreements (e.g Natural World Heritage sites).

A total of 6,797 sites were excluded from the analyses. These included UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserves (583 sites), protected areas with a status of “proposed" (2,347 sites) or “not reported" (236 sites), and 3,631 sites reported as points without an associated area. UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserves (MAB reserves) were removed on the basis that their buffer areas and transition zones may not comply with the IUCN protected area definition. Moreover, most core areas of MAB reserves overlap with existing protected areas. The WDPA is constantly updated as new information and corrections are incorporated, but since this is a dynamic process, it can never be considered to be completely up to date. Nevertheless, since 2014, 85% of the database has been updated, and the aim is to update countries and territories at least every five years and to make concerted efforts to complete data holdings where these are deficient.

All area calculations on coverage remove overlaps between protected areas (as a result of multiple designations) to avoid double counting. For those protected areas reported in the WDPA as points but which include an area, a buffer equal to the Reported Area was created and used in the analysis. To calculate the total area of the protected area estate in different years the field in the WDPA called Status Year was used. Status Year refers to the year a specific protected area was designated. Sites that no longer have protected area status are not stored in the WDPA.


National protected areas coverage statistics based on WDPA April 2016 release (UNEP-WCMC 2016). To access full protected area country profiles, search for your preferred country at

Table of protected area coverage of terrestrial and marine ecoregions, biomes and realms (JRC and UNEP-WCMC 2016). Additional resources on protected area coverage of ecoregions are here.

Maps and figures

Percentage coverage of protected areas by year of protected area designation (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016).

Global map of protected areas (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016).

Global map of terrestrial national protected area coverage (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016).

Global map of protected area coverage of Economic Exclusion Zones (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016).

Global map of Protected Area Management Effectiveness (From Coad et al., 2015).

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Ppr2016 Back Cover Cropped