World Heritage

Facts and figures

FactsheetThere are 229 natural World Heritage sites

197 classified as natural sites

32 mixed sites classified as both natural and cultural
 

Download the 2015 facts and figures for natural World Heritage

 

Natural and mixed World Heritage sites protect over 280 million hectares (ha) of land and sea and represent 22% of all 1031 World Heritage properties.

Of all natural World Heritage sites, 108 are forest sites, 46 are marine sites and 15 are transboundary sites.

97 countries have an area designated as a natural or mixed World Heritage site.

  • 6 in Arab States
  • 41 in Africa
  • 41 in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 70 in Asia and the Pacific
  • 71 in Europe and North America

To date, 18 natural and mixed World Heritage sites are on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
 

Top 10 biggest natural World Heritage sites

Site

Country

Total area (ha)

1. Phoenix Islands Protected Area

Kiribati

40,825,813

2. Papahānaumokuākea

USA

36,479,268

3. Great Barrier Reef

Australia

34,823,325

4. Galápagos

Ecuador

14,696,203

5. Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

USA / Canada

9,728,368

6. Lake Baikal

Russia

8,550,838

7. Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves

Niger

7,869,613

8. Tassili n’Ajjer

Algeria

7,571,268

9. Central Amazon Conservation Complex

Brazil

5,131,312

10. Selous Game Reserve

Tanzania

4,751,807


Top 10 countries with the largest natural World Heritage coverage

Country

Total area (hectares)1

% of national protected areas2

1. United States of America

46,513,654

13%

2. Australia

45,616,424

11%

3. Kiribati

40,825,813

100%

4. Russian Federation

23,432,990

11%

5. Ecuador

14,948,879

72%

6. Canada

10,752,043

11%

7. Niger

8,092,128

39%

8.Algeria

7,571,268

41%

9. Tanzania

6,972,264

22%

10. Democratic Republic of the Congo

6,895,266

24%

1. UNEP-WCMC (2015) Global Statistics from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA): February 2015. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC. All areas are calculated from GIS boundaries using the Mollweide equal area projection for consistency.
2. Data includes all designated protected areas recorded in WDPA (including land, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, February 2015) except for UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves.

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