Close this search box.

Denmark’s Protected Areas Assessed According to International Standard

Møns Klint. Foto: Bo Normander

A new study from the Danish National Committee under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) shows that only 378 of 1720 examined Danish protected areas meet the IUCN’s international requirements for nature protection.

The study was conducted for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, which has published the results and the report on their website (in Danish).

As a consequence, the Danish EPA will report 378 protected areas to the EU and the UN. Previously, 1843 areas were reported on the basis of a survey from 2009/2010, but this number has now been reduced to 378.

The daily newspaper, Politiken writes: “For a number of years Denmark has had serious confusion in its international reports of protected nature areas. Only one in five of the protected areas that Denmark has reported so far live up to the international criteria. And more than half of the protected areas that live up to to the criteria have been placed in the wrong categories.”  (Politiken, September 28 2018)

In the study, the Danish nature protected areas were assigned one of IUCN’s six different management categories. Below you can see how the 378 protected areas are distributed. The numbers that Denmark previously reported are listed in parentheses:

Ia Strict Nature Reserve: now: 5 (before: 6)
Ib Wilderness Area: now: 0 (before: 7)
II National Park: now: 3 (before: 9)
III Natural Monument or Feature: now: 16 (before: 20)
IV Habitat/Species Management Area: now 242 (before: 204)
V Protected Landscape/Seascape: now: 111 (before: 1597)
VI Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources: now: 1 (before: 0)

No IUCN category: now: 1342 (before: 0)

In total: now: 1720 (before: 1843)

The study was conducted by Copenhagen ZOO, Parks’n Trails, GEON, and NaturTanken among others under the auspices of the IUCN National Committee.

The full report can be downloaded here (in Danish).



The results and methodology are presented in a peer-reviewed article in the IUCN international journal PARKS:

Lessons learned from a desktop review of Conservation Areas in Denmark: Applying IUCN management categories for protected areas (PARKS 25.2, 2019). 



Møns Klint on the image above is one of the protected areas assessed that does not meet the IUCN definition for protected areas. Photo: Bo Normander.