Close this search box.

International Assessment of Denmark’s First Nature National Parks

A group of Danish IUCN commission experts has assessed five of Denmark’s planned Nature National Parks according to IUCN’s guidelines for protected areas. The guidelines is used by the UN and the EU to assess whether individual countries achieve their targets for nature protection.

Bastemosen i Almindingen på Bornholm - Foto af Bo Normander
Bastemosen, a mire area in the planned Nature National Park Almindingen on the island of Bornholm. Photo: Bo Normander

Our assessment results show that all five nature national parks meet IUCN’s definition for protected areas and thus can be assigned one of the six management categories that exist in IUCN’s system.

The nature national parks, Fussingø, Gribskov and Almindingen have been assigned IUCN management category “II National Park”. This is because the protection of these parks primarily aims at protecting relatively large ecosystems that will be self-sustained to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, the parks’ nature values will have a high visitor interest and the planned management practices will ensure sustainable outdoor activities and tourism.

The nature national parks, Tranum and Stråsø have been assigned IUCN management category “V Protected Landscape”. This is based on the assessment that the areas are relatively large and will be managed with the primary aim to create diverse and nature-rich landscapes with a mosaic of heathland and former plantation forest, and where human interaction from military use will be retained.

In the assessment of IUCN governance types, we have categorised all five nature national parks with the type, “Governance by governments – national”. This is based on the fact that after their inauguration, the management and governance of the parks with regards to both the proposed regulation for the parks themselves and the existing regulation for overlapping Natura 2000 designations, will be handled primarily by the Danish Nature Agency as a national authority.


What is a Nature National Park?

The Nature National Parks is a new concept for nature proctection in Denmark. They consist of relatively large areas where nature gets more space and at the same time the parks provide exciting new nature experiences. Agriculture will not be practised in the parks and forest areas will be left untouched. Large grazing animals such as cattle, horse, red deer, and moose will be introduced to help create a more dynamic and wild nature with many habitats for animals and plants.

The parks assessed in this study are the first five of a total of 15 nature national parks that
a coalition of parties in the Danish Parliament has agreed to designate, and which are planned to be established over the coming years.

The report and further information (in Danish) is available at the website of the Danish Environment Ministry:

Danmarks første naturnationalparker får officielt kvalitetsstempel fra verdens største naturbeskyttelsesorganisation

The report is in Danish with an English summary and can be downloaded here.

The report was prepared for the Danish Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen) by:

Bo Normander, Jan Woollhead, Anette Petersen, Franklin Feyeh and Ann-Katrine Garn – all members of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s largest nature conservation organisation.



Meadow Brown butterfly, Almindingen on the island of Bornholm.
Map showing the five nature national parks that have been assessed according to the IUCN defintion for protected areas. Map: Anette Petersen