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A nature reserve (natural reserve, nature preserve, natural preserve, bioreserve, or just 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.
King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri Lanka established one of the world's earliest wildlife sanctuaries in the 3rd 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 hunting are known by many ancient cultures worldwide. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, on his migrating to Medina made the forests and green spaces conservation areas, where every sort of living creature lived. These were called sanctuaries (hima). For example, a strip of land approximately twelve miles wide around Medina was proclaimed a sanctuary and made a conservation area. We know that he proclaimed other areas, similar to this, sanctuaries.
In the modern era, the Drachenfels (Siebengebirge), in modern-day Germany, 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 Park in Wyoming, United States, followed by the Royal National Park near Sydney, Australia 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.
Nature reserves in various countries 
There are 29 nature reserves in Egypt which cover 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. Egypt 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 Egypt is Gebel Elba (35,600 square kilometres (13,700 sq mi)) in the southeast, on the Red Sea coast.
European Union 
In Estonia there are 5 national parks, more than 100 nature reserves and around 130 landscape protection areas. The largest nature reserve in Estonia is Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve, which covers 342 km2 (85,000 acres).
In 1995 Germany had 5,314 nature reserves (German: Naturschutzgebiete) covering 6,845 km2 (2,643 sq mi), the largest total areas being in Bavaria with 1,416 km2 (547 sq mi) and Lower Saxony with 1,275 km2 (492 sq mi).
In Hungary there are 10 national Parks, more than 15 nature reserves and more than 250 protected areas. Hortobágy National park is the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe and the oldest National Park in Hungary. It is situated on the eastern part of Hungary, on the plain of the Alföld. It was established in 1972. There are alkaline grasslands interrupted by marshes. They have a sizable importance, because there are the fishponds. One of the most spectacular sights of the Park is the autumn migration of cranes. Some famous Hungarian animal species live in Hortobágy National park, such as the grey cattle, racka long-wool sheep living only in Hungary, Hungarian horses and buffalo. Hortobágy National Park has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1 December 1999.
As of 2011, Poland has 1469 nature reserves.
United Kingdom 
At the end of March 2004, there were 215 NNRs (National Nature Reserves) in England with a total area of 879 square kilometres. The Reserves are scattered through England, from Lindisfarne in Northumberland to The Lizard in Cornwall. Nearly every rural county has at least one. 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 field of Snake's Head Fritillaries at North Meadow, Cricklade, Wiltshire.
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 Scottish NNRs with a total area of approximately 1330 square kilometres. 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.
Israel's National Parks and Nature Reserves Act of 1963 defines a nature reserve as "an area where are preserved animal life, plant life, earth, caves or water, which have a scientific or educational significance, from unwanted changes in their appearance, in their biological composition or in their development, and which the Minister of the Interior, through the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture or subsequent to consultation with him, declared in the protocols that it is a nature reserve." In 1984, the two areas with the highest number of nature reserves were the South (15.2%) and Samaria (the Shomron, 13.5%).
Under the Nature Conservation Law, places can be designated as 'wilderness areas', 'nature conservation areas' and 'prefectural nature conservation areas'. In 1995, when the Japanese Government published its information in English, there were 5 wildernesses, 10 nature conservation areas and 516 prefectural nature conservation areas.
There are six nature reserves in Jordan. In 1966, the organization that would later start Jordan's nature reserves, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, was founded. RSCN's first efforts involved bringing back severely endangered species. In 1973, RSCN was given the right to issue hunting licenses, giving RSCN an upper hand in preventing extinction. The first step was the founding of Jordan's first nature reserve, Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, in 1975. The primary purpose was to create means to breed endangered species, specifically: the Arabian Oryx, gazelles, ostriches, and Persian Onagers in their natural environment.
By the end of 2009 there were 10 nature reserves (Kyrgyz: корук, koruk) in Kyrgyzstan covering 600,000 hectares (6,000 km2) or about 3% of the total area of the country.
New Zealand 
New Zealand has a variety of National Parks, Conservation Areas (including stewardship land that is yet to be officially classified), and seven additional specific types of "Reserve", each of which prioritise various degrees of protection to different amenities such as scenery, recreation, flora and fauna, scientific value or history. Land is often sub-categorised beneath its general classification, as defined in law between the Reserves Act of 1977, the National Parks Act of 1980, and the Conservation Act of 1987. Although most public land is strongly protected for natural preservation, the term nature reserve is specifically defined in the Reserves Act to mean a reserve that prioritises the protection of rare flora and fauna, to the extent that public access is by permit only. Some of these reserves include Ecological Islands, a comparatively new concept in wildlife preservation, pioneered in New Zealand to help re-build the populations of nearly extinct birds, and other species that are heavily threatened by introduced predators.
There are around 100 nature reserves (Russian: заповедник, zapovednik) in Russia, covering some 330,000 square kilometres (130,000 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 Union era. There are also natural protected areas where only certain species are protected, or only certain activities are prohibited; those are known as zakaznik (Russian: заказник).
South Africa 
South Africa is well known for its many reserves, including Shamwari, Londolozi, Sanbona and Lalibela. It currently has 20 national parks covering 3,700,000 hectares (37,000 km2), about 3% of the total area of South Africa. The best-known is Kruger National Park, which is also the oldest (proclaimed in 1898), and the largest, at nearly 2,000,000 hectares (20,000 km2). The Kruger Park and Table Mountain National Park are two of South Africa's most visited tourist attractions. It also has a number of World Heritage Sites and peace parks, as well as many provincial and private parks.
United States 
In the U.S. 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. There are currently 2,205 preservations in the United States. Private nature reserves exist with land excluded from private land trusts, and maintained at the sole cost of the proprietor. Wilbur Hot Springs' Dr. Richard Louis Miller donated 1,800 acres (7.3 km2) of land in this manner, and is an example of this type of private nature reserve.
In Brazil, nature reserves are classified as Biological Reserves by the National System of Conservation Units. Its main objectives are preserving fauna and flora and other natural attributes, excluding direct human interference.
|Name||Date of creation|
|Lago de Piratuba||1980|
|Morro dos Seis Lagos||1990|
|Nascentes da Serra do Cachimbo||2005|
|Rio Ouro Preto||1990|
See also 
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- The National Atlas of Sri Lanka (2nd ed.). Department of Survey. 2007. p. 86. ISBN 955-9059-04-1.
- "Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS)". Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Ibrahim Ozdemir, Ph.D. "An Islamic Approach to the Environment".
- Weiner, Douglas R. (1988). Models Of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8229-5733-1.
- Dariusz Bochenek (ed.). "Ochrona środowiska 2012". Warszawa: Główny Urząd Statystyczny. p. 277. ISSN 0867-3217. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- "Scottish National Heritage (SNH)". Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Hareuveni, Imanuel (1985). קום התהלך בארץ: מדריך שמורות טבע בישראל [Nature Reserves in Israel] (in Hebrew) (2nd ed.). Israel: Israel Ministry of Defense. p. 482. ISBN 965-05-0193-2. "חוק גנים לאומיים ושמורות טבע תשכ"ג – 1963. 'שמורת טבע' – שטח שבו נשמרים חי, צומח, קרקע, מערות או מים, שיש בהם ענין של מדע או של חנוך, מפני שינויים בלתי רצויים במראם, בהרכבם הביאולוגי או במהלך התפתחותם, וששר הפנים, לפי הצעת שר החקלאות או לאחר התיעצות אתו, הכריז עליו ברשומות שהוא שמורת טבע."
- "Nature Conservation in Japan". Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan. 31 March 1995. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Federal Law Nº 9.985 of 07/18/2000. Regulates article 225 of the Federal Constitution and institutes the National System of Units of Conservation and other provisions.