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Protected areas 2014-12-31:

Protected areas 2014-12-31

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2015-05-22 9.30

Protected nature in Sweden encompasses almost 5.4 million hectares. Of the total area of protected nature, 4.5 million hectares comprise land. This represents 11 percent of Sweden’s land surface. The growth in designated protected areas (marine and terrestrial) during 2014 was 72 000 hectares.

Areas with protected status are unevenly distributed in the country because of the need for protection of large old-growth forest areas in the mountainous regions. As regards nature reserves, more than 3 million hectares or 82 percent of the nature reserve land area is found in the three northernmost counties. The protected areas in these counties are concentrated in the mountains or along the edge of the mountain chain.

Statutory protection of nature regulated by the Environmental Code as of 31 December 2014 is summarized below.

Overview of protected areas in Sweden 2014
Type of protectionNumberTotal area,
Land area,
National Parks 29 739 448 631 324


4 209 4 572 546 3 753 091


90 106 619 70 945

forest land

7 318 25 270 25 212
Areas in
agricultural land 
100 242 241
Total 2014
11 746 5 442 793 4 479 549
Total 2013
11 353 5 371 013 4 452 946
Natura 2000
4 520 6 672 927 4 762 755

The protection of specific biotopes is regulated in the Environmental Code Chapter 7, Section 11. More than 7 000 areas comprising 25 000 hectares of forest biotopes have been designated by the County Forestry Boards. The County Administrative Boards have designated agricultural biotopes in 100 areas comprising 242 hectares.

In the Environmental Code Chapter 4, Section 6, rivers protected from hydroelectric power exploitation are noted. These comprise the four national rivers Torneälven, Kalixälven, Piteälven and Vindelälven and a further 38 river basins with a total area of 153 000 km2. Moreover, ten river courses in seven rivers are protected.

The Nordic countries have large areas of protected nature per capita compared with other parts of Europe. On the other hand, if we consider protected nature as a share of total area, many other European countries have protected greater shares of their territories.

Map tool – Protected areas

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency's website provides the opportunity to become acquainted with Sweden's protected areas by using the Protected Areas map tool. You can create your own maps of protected areas for a municipality, a county or for the entire country. You can also look for specific areas and make a sample based on different data about protected areas, for example the purpose or the year for establishment.

Naturvårdsverket – kartverktyget Skyddad natur


A more detailed report of this survey is published in a Statistical Report.

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Environmental accounts and Environment

Box 24 300
104 51 Stockholm


Karin Hedeklint

+46 10 479 45 14