How protected is your country's land?


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In 2015, 788 000 km2 of land area was protected in the European Union (EU) for the preservation of biodiversity, as proposed under the Habitats Directive. This represents almost a fifth (18%) of the EU total land area. Since 2010, the share of the protected areas has increased by 4 percentage points in the EU.

Highest share of protected land area in Slovenia and Croatia, lowest in Denmark and the United Kingdom

In 2015, the protected land areas represented 20% or more of the total land area in twelve EU Member States, reaching over 35% in Slovenia (38%, or 8 000 km2) and Croatia (37%, or 21 000 km2). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares were observed in Denmark (8% of protected areas, or 3 600 km2) and the United Kingdom (9%, or 21 000 km2).

From 2010 to 2015, the share of the protected areas increased in the majority of the EU Member States.

Protected terrestrial area in the EU MS, 2015 (% of total area)

The information is provided on the occasion of the Earth Day, celebrated every year on 22 April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. 

For more information:

Eurostat website sections on environmental and biodiversity statistics.

Eurostat Statistics Explained article on biodiversity statistics. 

The data source for protected areas is the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission.

The dataset is available on the Eurostat website.