Number and size of protected areas
Sites in the Natura 2000 network now account for 18 % of the EU's land territory, providing invaluable protection for vulnerable wildlife and habitats. Protected areas
more generally (including nationally and locally designated sites) now cover 21,8 %  of the land territory of the European Environment Agency's member countries and collaborating countries, in total 39 countries.
|Number of Sites||Total area [km²]||% of protected area inside EU28|
Nationally designated areas (CDDA)
|100 181||1 200 000 km²||21,8 %|
Protected areas under the European Nature Directives (Natura 2000)
1 106 612.96 km²
(788 487.39 km²)
|Protected areas under one or both of these categories (CDDA+Natura2000)||127 574||
1 121 471 km²
For the area and total number of marine protected areas see here
While the number of protected areas in Europe is very high, their average size is quite low as compared to other regions of the world. This largely reflects the high degree of fragmentation of the land in Europe due to urbanisation, transport infrastructure and general intensification of land use.
|Area size||Nationally protected areas|
|Natura 2000 sites|
|1 - 100 ha||61,8%||31,5%|
|100 - 1 000 ha||15,9%||32,8%|
|1 000 - 10 000 ha||5,5%||23,2%|
|>10 000 ha||1,9%||9,5%|
For the complementary of nationally designated areas (CDDA) and the Natura 2000 network see here
 excluding Greenland, otherwise 26,8 %
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
PDF generated on 29 Jun 2016, 09:48 AM