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Protected areas are marine and terrestrial spaces that include national parks, wilderness areas, community conserved areas, and nature reserves. A protected area is a clearly defined geographic space, which is recognized, dedicated, and managed to conserve its ecosystem

The designation of protected areas is a response to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by human activities. Protected areas are used to conserve ecosystems and the biodiversity therein.

These reserves also aid humans. Protected areas provide food, clean water, medicines, protection from natural disasters, and mitigations against damages from climate change.

Roughly 15 percent of the planet’s land and seven percent of its oceans are designated as a protected area. Protected areas are not stagnant, however, and are planned to be increased up to 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. 

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is a global database of marine and terrestrial protected areas used by scientists, businesses, and governments to help inform policy decisions. This dataset was created as a joint project between the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme. 

This map layer includes only the regions categorized as strictly protected areas (IUCN Categories I-IV). Some protected places may not be present based on the system their home country uses to classify them.


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Noun

all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area.

Noun

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

comprehensive
Adjective

full, wide-ranging, or inclusive.

conserve
Verb

to save or use wisely.

Noun

community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

habitat fragmentation
Noun

breaking up an environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

habitat loss
Noun

the reduction or destruction of an ecosystem, making it less able to support its native species.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Noun

environmental organization concerned with preserving natural ecosystems and habitats.

marine
Adjective

having to do with the ocean.

Noun

part of the ocean where no fishing, hunting, drilling, or other development is allowed.

mitigation
Noun

process of becoming or making something milder and less severe.

national park
Noun

geographic area protected by the national government of a country.

natural disaster
Noun

an event occurring naturally that has large-scale effects on the environment and people, such as a volcano, earthquake, or hurricane.

nature
Noun

environment or ecosystem, usually without human development.

protected land area
Noun

area where development projects are controlled or limited.

terrestrial
Adjective

having to do with the Earth or dry land.

Noun

environment that has remained essentially undisturbed by human activity.

wildlife reserve
Noun

area set aside and protected by the government or other organization to maintain wildlife habitat. Also called a nature preserve.