List of largest protected areas

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The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is compiled and managed by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, an executive agency of the United Nations Environment Programme.[1] It uses the IUCN and CBD definitions of protected areas to determine whether a site should be included in the WDPA.[2] The twenty largest protected areas in the October 2017 edition of the WDPA are listed below,[3] in order of size as reported by the relevant data provider.[4] All are marine protected areas except for Northeast Greenland National Park, which is mostly terrestrial but also has a marine component. Protected areas with multiple coterminous or overlapping designations (e.g. Northeast Greenland National Park and the corresponding Biosphere Reserve) are listed only once.

Largest protected areas of the world[edit]

Rank Name Country or area Size
(sq. km)
1 Marae Moana Cook Islands 1,976,000 2017
2 Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area Antarctica 1,555,851 2017
3 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Hawaii and Midway Atoll, United States 1,508,870 2006
4 Natural Park of the Coral Sea New Caledonia 1,292,967 2014
5 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Central Pacific Ocean, United States 1,277,860 2009
6 South Georgia Marine Protected Area[5] South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 1,070,000 2012
7 Coral Sea Marine Park Australia 989,836 2018
8 Protection zone around the French Southern Territories National Nature Reserve[6] French Southern and Antarctic Lands 989,787 2017
9 Northeast Greenland National Park Greenland 972,000 1974
10 Steller Sea Lion Protection Areas[7] Alaska, United States 869,206 2002
11 Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve Pitcairn Islands 834,334 2016
12 British Indian Ocean Territory Marine Protected Area British Indian Ocean Territory (disputed by Mauritius) 640,000 2010
13 French Southern Territories National Nature Reserve[8] French Southern and Antarctic Lands 545,060 2016
14 Palau National Marine Sanctuary[9] Palau 500,000 2015
15 Kermadec Benthic Protection Area Kermadec Islands, New Zealand 469,276 2007
16 Phoenix Islands Protected Area Phoenix Islands, Kiribati 408,250 2006
17 Pacific Biosphere Reserve[10] Eastern Pacific Ocean, Mexico 390,091 2016
18 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Australia 348,700 1981
19 Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area[11] Western Atlantic Ocean, United States 336,101 1997
20 Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park[12] Desventuradas Islands, Chile 300,035 2016


  1. ^ "World Database on Protected Areas". Protected Planet. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  2. ^ "World Database on Protected Areas User Manual 1.5" (PDF). Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC. 2017. pp. 8–9. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "October update of the WDPA". Protected Planet. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  4. ^ This is stored in the WDPA under the field name "REP_AREA".
  5. ^ "Marine Protected Area". Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. October 12, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  6. ^ "A very large Marine Protected Area is created in the Southern Ocean by France". Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. April 24, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures". National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "La réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaises" (in French). French Southern and Antarctic Lands administration. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Palau National Marine Sanctuary". Global Island Partnership. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  10. ^ "Four protected areas announced in Cancún". Mexico News Daily. December 6, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  11. ^ "Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area" (PDF). National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. June 1, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Chilean government officially decrees the creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park" (Press release). Santiago: Oceana. August 24, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.