An Aerial view of the forest and mountains in Tumucumaque National Park, Amapa, Amazon, Brazil.
© CI/Photo by Haroldo Castro
"A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values."
— International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2008
Protected areas (PAs) represent one of the most effective tools for conserving biodiversity and maintaining valuable and often irreplaceable ecosystem services, which are crucial for the wellbeing of people, nature and the planet as a whole.
Facts about protected areas:
Protected areas can help to reduce the impact of natural disasters: Floods, landslides, storm surges, fires, drought and desertification.
Protected areas are proven tools for maintaining essential natural resources and services, which in turn can help increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of livelihoods in the face of climate change.
15 percent of the world's terrestrial carbon stock (312 Gt of carbon) is stored in the world's protected area network.
Currently there are about 133,000 protected areas worldwide, including nature reserves, wilderness areas, national parks and monuments, habitat/species management areas, and marine protected areas. However, these cover less than 15 percent of the terrestrial and 1 percent of the marine surface.
At least 800 globally threatened vertebrate species (20 percent of threatened species) are not represented within the global network of PAs.
Conservation International is working to maintain and expand protected areas to conserve land, water, species, and services on which we depend.