Indicators on terrestrial and marine protected areas: methodology and results for OECD and G20 countries.

Published online
11 Apr 2018
Content type

Mackie, A. & Sentier, S. & Haščič, I. & Linster, M.

Publication language


This paper details a methodology for calculating the extent of terrestrial and marine protected areas recorded in the World Database on Protected Areas by country, type and IUCN management categories. The method allows the data on protected areas to be summarised in a harmonised and more detailed way than is currently available, without requiring any additional reporting by countries. When used in combination with other information about protected areas, this new indicator can help better understand the extent and focus of countries' conservation efforts. A wide variety of different approaches to establishing protected area networks can be discerned from the new indicator, particularly for marine protected areas. For example, some countries have designated relatively large amounts of their marine territory as protected areas, while others are yet to establish substantive marine protected area networks. In the terrestrial sphere, protected area networks are much more developed but management objectives vary greatly, with some countries predominantly using mixed-use 'protected landscape' type of designations, and others using protected areas primarily for the conservation of more pristine ecosystems. The indicator described here helps fulfil a demand that is not met with available data. It provides additional detail about the extent of protected areas and what management objectives are pursued within and across countries. It does not, however, answer important and policy-relevant questions such as the extent to which protected areas are protecting national or global biodiversity or whether protected areas are effectively managed or enforced.

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