Protected areas

- learn more about nature protection and browse protected areas by country

Protected areas constiute the majority of EUROPARC Nordic-Baltic Section's members. Some of them are national parks, others nature reserves or nature parks. It is not always easy to know what the differences are. On this page you can learn about the classification of protected areas and read about nature protection in each of the Nordic-Baltic section's member countries. Most importantly, you can browse our protected areas by country.

Nature protection is at the heart of our network and the protected areas that our members represent are our pride. We would like to introduce these beautiful nature areas to you and invite you to browse them by country. Once acquainted with them, we hope you will be inspired to know more, to visit, or - if you are a protected area manager - to become part of our network.

Since some of our members represent large numbers of protected areas, not all of them are presented here. For more information please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat or our members directly.

What is a protected area?
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, a protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed through legal or other effective means to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.

Classification according to management objectives
The IUCN classifies protected areas according to their management objectives. The categories are recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and by many national governments as the global standard for defining and recording protected areas and as such are increasingly being incorporated into government legislation.

Norway

Norway is characterised by considerable local variation in terms of topography, geology and climate. The environmental conditions change rapidly over short distances. The Norwegian land area is a mosaic of ecosystems and habitats, with a unique combination of species. For instance, Norway comprises 26 differe ...

Find out more

Latvia

Latvia, the midmost country among the Baltic states, is located in North-eastern Europe on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. It consists of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills, crossed by an extensive network of rivers. There are thousands of lakes and hundreds of kilometres of seashore lined by pine fo ...

Find out more

Sweden

In Sweden, the natural world is never far away! We invite you to come and enjoy our 29 national parks and more than 3 500 nature reserves! The national parks represent the most outstanding examples of Sweden’s natural landscapes. In 1909, Abisko, Sarek, Stora Sjöfallet, Sånfjället, Piel ...

Find out more

Lithuania

Lithuania has its very own system of protected areas, and long-standing traditions of the protection of natural and cultural heritage. Protected areas are established not only for the protection of natural and cultural values, but also for their adaptation to allow public use and access, be it for educational ...

Find out more

Finland

The Finnish landscape is very varied, as Finland is over 1 000 kilometres long. Its northernmost parts lie above the Arctic Circle. In the southernmost part is the archipelago with hundreds and hundreds of islands. Inbetween, vast forested areas and mires cover most of Finland’s surface area. The t ...

Find out more

Estonia

Estonia is the Amazon of the Nordic countries! Estonia has a very rich nature on account of its advantageous geographical position and landscapes that have been left relatively or completely untouched by human activity. The biodiversity and characteristical traits are influenced by the geological history, cli ...

Find out more

Denmark

Denmark is a small country of merely 43 000 km2. The land is intensively used: 62% is farmland, 11% (mainly production) forest and 17% is covered by cities, roads and infrastructure. Thus, only about 10 percent remain for nature protection. Yet, although nature areas may generally be small and ...

Find out more

Iceland

Iceland's first protected area was established in 1929 when Þingvellir National Park was designated a "national sanctuary". Today, Þingvellir is a protected national shrine and there are 102 protected areas in Iceland. Together they encompass over 21 per cent of the country’s area. In a ...

Find out more

Title by Photographer