Gotland has more, but Vellinge has most
All municipalities have some form of protected areas. Gotland Municipality had the largest number of protected areas with 340. In terms of protected area as a share of municipal area, Vellinge Municipality had most with over 60 percent of its total area. In 218 of Sweden's 290 municipalities, at least 1 percent of the total area was protected in the form of a national park, nature reserve, conservation area or habitat protection area. Of these, some 26 municipalities had more than 15 percent of their total area as protected areas.
Ocean surface area increased the most
In 2011, total protected areas increased by 152 700 hectares. Most of the newly added areas consisted of ocean surface, followed by lakes and forests.
Nature reserves are the type of protected area that accounted for the largest increase in area by nearly 70 000 hectares.
More people live closer to protected areas
Between 2007 and 2011, the proportion of population with access to protected areas within 2.5 kilometres from their residence increased from 48 to 53 percent.
In 2011, over 80 percent of the population in Sweden had access to a national park, nature reserve or conservation area within 5 miles from their residence. Nearly 100 percent of the population can reach one of these protected areas within 15 kilometres from their residence.
Northern Sweden has large areas of protected areas, but the population there is on average further away from the protected environment than the population in Southern Sweden. Stockholm County tops the list, as 98 percent of the population can reach a national park, nature reserve or conservation area within five kilometres from their residence.
Protecting the natural environment - a global commitment
Sweden has signed the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) along with 193 countries and organisations. A strategic plan was adopted for 2010-2020 at the CBD Conference of the Parties in Nagoya in 2010. The plan has a specific objective (Objective 11) for the protection of natural areas to preserve biodiversity. The goal states that protected areas or other appropriate area-based conservation measures worldwide must include at least 17 percent of the land surface and 10 percent of coastal and ocean surface.