A sixth of mainland Norway is protected areas

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Protected areas comprise more than a sixth of mainland Norway’s total land area, which is triple that of 2000. In recent years there have only been minor increases, with 0.3 per cent in 2016, roughly the size of the Norwegian municipality of Bærum (188 km2).

Approximately 55 400 km2 of mainland Norway is protected areas. Differences between counties in mainland Norway are also large, varying from 3 per cent for Vestfold to 30 per cent for Oppland. Far more of Svalbard and Jan Mayen’s land area is protected, with 65 per cent for Svalbard, and almost 99 per cent for Jan Mayen.

New areas gaining protection in 2016 are all in mainland Norway. These are mainly nature reserves, but there are also two new national parks.

Figure 1. Protected areas on mainland¹ by Nature Diversity Act. 31 December
Figure 1. Protected areas on mainland¹ by Nature Diversity Act. 31 December
Other protections³ Landscape protected areas² National parks Nature reserves
1980 2 638 6228 219
1985 52 1795 9650 895
1990 102 4229 12558 1427
1995 108 4659 13788 2210
2000 93 7798 13868 2796
2005 127 14163 22193 3805
2006 412 15077 26778 4159
2007 432 15075 26778 4266
2008 427 15217 26774 4726
2009 427 16291 29582 4774
2010 427 16288 29960 4958
2011 390 17322 31046 5645
2012⁴ 388 17281 31265 5623
2013 388 17274 31281 5788
2014 388 17273 31280 5992
2015 387 17246 31285 6255
2016 387 17234 31295 6445
1 Areas on Svalbard are protected according to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act and areas on Jan Mayen are protected according to the Act. of Jan Mayen and are not included.
2 Consists of flora and fauna protection areas (biotop protections). Since 2006 nature relics with an area protection and biotops protected by the Act relating to Salmonids and Fresh-water Fish and the Wildlife Act have also been included.
3 Areas with flora- or fauna protections are also included.
4 From 2012 the statistic/area are calculated by the projection ETRS_1989_LAEA. Earlier year has been calculated by the projection WGS_1984_Zone_33N. This will may lead to å differences in the area.

Figure 2. Protected area by protection category¹, the whole country. 2016
Figure 2. Protected area by protection category¹, the whole country. 2016
Other protections³ Landscape protection areas² Nature reserves National parks
Mainland 387 17234 6445 31295
Svalbard 14 25118 14369
Jan Mayen 375
1 Mainland Norway is including islands, but excluding Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Areas on Svalbard are protected according to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act and areas on Jan Mayen are protected according to the Act of Jan Mayen and are not included.
2 Areas with flora- or fauna protections are also included.
3 Include flora and fauna protection areas (biotop protections), nature relics with an area protection and biotops protected by the Act relating to Salmonids and Fresh-water Fish and the Wildlife Act.

More nature reserve areas

Twenty-two new nature reserves were formed in mainland Norway in 2016, giving an area increase of 180 km2. Nature reserves on the mainland make up a total of about 6 445 km2, covering approximately 2 per cent of the area. On Svalbard, nature reserves cover more than 25 100 km2, or 41 per cent of its total area. Jan Mayen has only one nature reserve, which covers as much as 99 per cent of the land area.

Two new national parks

Two new national parks have been formed in 2016, “Jomfruland” on the coast of Telemark, and “Raet” on the coast of Aust Agder. The increase in protected area is still small, 10 km2, as the parks span a large number of islands. Areas of sea water are generally excluded from the statistics for protected areas, only land and freshwater are included.

For Norway including Svalbard and Jan Mayen, national parks make up the largest area out of the total protected areas, with 45 700 km2. Of this, 31 300 km2 is on the mainland, with approximately 14 400 km2 on Svalbard.

Norway has 46 national parks; 39 on the mainland and 7 on Svalbard.

Differences between counties in mainland Norway

The proportion of protected area varies considerably from county to county. The map below shows how counties in the vicinity of the Oslo area have proportionately less protected areas than other counties. The counties Vestfold, Akershus and Østfold all have less than 5 per cent protected areas, whilst Oslo has 9 per cent. All other counties have proportions higher than 10 per cent, with Møre og Romsdal and Oppland scoring highest (28 per cent and 30 per cent).

Map

Protected areas as percentage oftotal areal (land and fresh water).County. 2016

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