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Nature protection and biodiversity - State and impacts (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

Common environmental themeexpired
This content has been archived on 21 Mar 2015, reason: A new version has been published
SOER Common environmental theme from Macedonia the former Yugoslavian Republic of
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015
Key message

  • Under the legally regulated procedure for the protection of natural sites with nature value, six categories of natural heritage sites have been established;
  • CORINE biotopes with 77 Corine sites and the National Emerald Network of the Republic ­ with 35 Emerald areas and 11 protected areas included in the Republic’s green belt as part of the Balkan green belt ­ have been established;
  • the number of protected areas has risen during the past decade, from 7.4 % of the national territory in 1991 to 8.7 % in 2008.
  • the protected areas coverage is 2 220.5 km2;
  • degradation of natural habitats and reductions of the areas of endemic, relict and rare species of flora and native fungi have been recorded;
  • there has been a slight decrease in the populations of several species of migratory waterfowl in lake, river and swamp habitats, as well as a decrease in the populations of  the four globally threatened birds of prey (eagles and vultures) and globally threatened mammals (bats, otter, badger, etc.);
  • the amendments of the law on hunting (2008) have provided for an increased number of wild animal species (game) to acquire the status of permanently protected wild species;
  • the effect of implementation of the amendments to the 2008 law of hunting is positive. Hunters are supporting activities for permanent protection of endangered wild species.


Data on the number and area of protected areas is presented in the table 1.

Table 1. Number and area of protected areas, 1948-1998

Year protected

Number of protected areas


(in ha)

% of the total national territory



131 599




52 538




184 137


According to the data presented above, 11 areas and objects were protected in the period between 1948 and 1960 as natural rarities on the basis of the Law on Protection of Monuments of Culture and Natural Rarities applicable in that period, with a total surface area of 131 599 – 5.11 % of the national territory. Under the Law on Natural Rarities Protection enacted in 1960 and its amendments of 1965 and 1973, a further 58 objects were protected, resulting in the total number of protected areas and objects reaching 69 with a total area of 184 137 ha – 7.16% of the territory of the Republic.

With the establishment of a separate Ministry of Environment in December 1998, the process of natural heritage protection continued in the period 1999-2008. Adoption of the Law on Nature Protection in 2004, incorporating the European directives related to natural heritage protection, has been of particular significance. Data on protected areas in this period is presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Number and area of protected areas, 2008 status

Protected area


area (in km2)

% of national territory

National park


1 130


Strict nature reserve




Landscape of outstanding natural characteristics




Individual flora and fauna species




Monument of nature




Multi-purpose area








Data in Table 2 indicate that protected areas occupy around 8.7 % of the national territory. The majority of them are national parks – around 4.4 % of the national territory – followed by monuments of nature at around 2.5 % and the Jasen multi-purpose area of around 1.1 % of national territory. A relatively small area of 0.5 % is strict nature reserves, the smallest being around 0.1 % of the Republic. Each landscape category has outstanding natural characteristics and individual flora and fauna species.

At present, the first three categories of protected area – strict nature reserve, national park and monument of nature – have been established and there is only one multi-purpose area (Jasen), while the fourth and the fifth categories of protected area – nature park and protected landscape – have not yet been established. Upon finalisation of a re-evaluation of the natural heritage of the Republic, the objects of nature included in the categories of landscape of outstanding natural characteristics and individual flora and fauna species will be incorporated into the six categories of protected areas under the Law on Nature Protection.[1]

[1] Under the Law on Nature Protection, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is obliged, within six months from the day of implementation of this law, to carry out a re-evaluation of areas protected prior to the the application of this law and to prepare new acts for declaration in accordance with the relevant provisions. Due to this, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Administration for Environment is carrying out intensive activities to conduct the procedure of the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for declaration of new or redeclaration of existing protected areas. Within this context, the site of Kuklica near Kratovo has already been declared as a nature monument; re-declaration has been carried out for Markovi Kuli (King Marko's Towers) and Smolare Waterfalls as monuments of nature, as well as re-designation of part of the Pelister Mountain as a National Park. Activities for declaration/re-declaration of around ten objects of nature are in progress in the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.



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