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A nature reserve (natural reserve, nature preserve, natural preserve) is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions, regardless of nationality. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws.


The first country in the world to have a nature reserve (a wildlife sanctuary) was Sri Lankamarker, in the third century BC. However, dating back to antiquity there are various cultural practices that equate roughly to the establishment and maintaining of reserved areas for biota including fish, waterfowl and other animals. These would often have a religious underpinning - for example the 'evil forest' areas of West Africa were forbidden to humans, who were threatened with spiritual attack if they went there. Sacred areas taboo from human entry to fishing and are known by many ancient cultures worldwide..

In the modern era, the Drachenfels marker is credited as being the first nature reserve. The site was bought by the Prussian State in 1836 to protect it from further quarrying. The first major nature reserve was Yellowstone National Parkmarker, followed by the Royal National Parkmarker near Sydney, Australiamarker and Il'menskii zapovednik of Soviet Russia in 1920 - the first of its kind set up by a federal government entirely for the scientific study of nature (Weiner, Douglas. 1988. Models of Nature: University of Pittsburgh Press. page 29).

Nature reserves in various countries


There are 27 nature reserves in Egyptmarker represent 12% of Egyptian land. Those nature reserves were built according to the laws no. 102/1983 and 4/1994 for protection of the Egyptian nature reserve.

Egyptmarker announced a plan from to build 40 nature reserves from 1997 to 2017, to help protect the natural resources and the culture and history of those areas.

The largest nature reserve in Egyptmarker is Gebel Elbamarker (35600km²) in the southeast on the Red Sea coast.

South Africa

South Africa is well known for its many reserves, some of them namely, Shamwari, Londolozi, Sanbona, Lalibela and others.


1995 Germany had 5,314 nature reserves ( ) covering 6,845 km², the largest summary in Bavaria with 1,416 km² and Lower Saxon with 1,275 km².

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker a number of separate distinctions are made for the term nature reserves. Wilderness areas, National Park, scenic reserves, scientific reserves and forest parks are all types of nature reserves with varying degrees of protection. A comparatively new concept in wildlife preservation, pioneered in New Zealand, is the Ecological Island.
Path on Szczeliniec Wielki, a famous nature reserve in Stołowe Mountains in SW Poland


When Poland regained independence in 1918, there were 39 natural reserves within its borders. Their number increased to 211 by 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland. As of 2008, Poland has 1407 nature reserves of various sizes. Their areas range from 0.5 to 5000 ha. Most of the reserves are located in the mountains in the south of Poland.


There are around 100 nature reserves ( , zapovednik) in Russia, covering some 330,000 km² (~127,400 sq mi), or about 1.4% of the country's total area. A few of them predate the October Revolution of 1917, but most have been created during the Soviet Unionmarker era. There are also natural protected areas where only certain species are protected, or only certain activities are prohibited; those are known as zakaznik ( ).

United Kingdom

There are some differences between the regulations for England, Scotland and Wales, which are separately managed.

At the end of March 2004, there were 215 NNRs (National Nature Reserves) in Englandmarker with a total area of 879 square kilometres. The Reserves are scattered through England, from Lindisfarnemarker in Northumberlandmarker to The Lizardmarker in Cornwallmarker. Nearly every rural county has at least one. Derbyshiremarker Dales NNR lies within the Peak District National Parkmarker. The reserve consists of five separate limestone valleys Lathkill, Cressbrook, Monk's, Long and Hay. These five dales represent some of the best examples of wildlife and geology in the White Peak. Many NNRs contain nationally important populations of rare flowers, ferns and mosses, butterflies and other insects, and nesting and wintering birds. Examples include unique alpine plants at Upper Teesdale and the beautiful field of fritillary lilies at North Meadow Cricklade, Wiltshiremarker. The Lake Districtmarker National Park covers almost the entire of the county of Cumbriamarker and all the land in England above 3,00ft lies within the park.

There are now over 1050 LNRs (Local Nature Reserves) in England. They range from windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows to former inner city railways, long abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife. In total they cover almost 40,000 ha - an impressive natural resource which makes an important contribution to England's biodiversity. A good example is Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in East Sussex where a network of footpaths enables visitors to explore shingle, saltmarsh, saline lagoon, reedbed and grazing marsh habitats.

Through the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991 the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was established in 1992 as a Government body, responsible to the Scottish Government Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. At 31 March 2008 there were 65 NNRs with approximately 1330 square kilometres in summary. Following Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 the Local Authorities have the exclusive statutory power to establish an LNR in consultation with the SNH.

United States

In the U.S.marker the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for managing many nature reserves including National Wildlife Refuges. State and local governments administer others and some belong to private trusts, which are funded through personal donations.

See also


  1. Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS)

External links

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