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.
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 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.