World Heritage

Facts and figures

World Heritage facts 2016There are 238 natural World Heritage sites

203 classified as natural sites

35 mixed sites classified as both natural and cultural
 

Download the 2016 facts and figures for natural World Heritage

 

Natural and mixed World Heritage sites protect over 286 million hectares (ha) of land and sea and represent 23% of all 1052 World Heritage properties.

Of all natural World Heritage sites, 111 are forest sites, 49 are marine sites and 16 are transboundary sites.

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

  • 8 in Arab States
  • 42 in Africa
  • 42 in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 72 in Europe and North America
  • 74 in Asia and the Pacific

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

12.8%

2. Australia

45,616,424

9.9%

3. Kiribati

40,825,813

99.8%

4. Russian Federation

23,432,990

12.5%

5. Ecuador

14,948,879

77.6%

6. Canada

10,752,043

11%

7. Niger

8,092,128

39.3%

8.Algeria

7,571,268

43.4%

9. Tanzania

6,972,264

22.6%

10. Democratic Republic of the Congo

6,895,266

23.1%

1. UNEP-WCMC (2016) Global Statistics from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA): February 2016. 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 2016) except for UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves.

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