In 2000 the European Union ratified Natura 2000 that sought to protect natural environments and threatened species. The European Union has the largest and most coordinated network of protected areas in the world covering approximately 18% of the landmass and 6% of the marine territory. Although not a member of the European Union, Russia has the highest number of national parks in Europe but the parks only occupy a small percentage of the country. This article discusses some of the countries in Europe with the highest number of the parks.
The Four European Nations With The Highest Number Of National Parks In The Continent
Russia is the largest country in Europe and has the largest number of national parks. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for the 48 parks in the country that cover approximately 60,105 sq miles. Sochinsky and Losiny Ostrov National Parks established in 1983 are the oldest parks in the country while the Beringia National Park is the largest encompassing 11,788.6 square miles. Although the country has the highest number of parks, they only occupy 0.40% of the county, the smallest percentage in Europe.
There are 40 national parks in Turkey covering approximately 1% of the country. Mount Ararat National Park located in eastern Turkey is the largest park encompassing approximately 340 sq miles while Yozgat Pine Grove National Park that was established in 1958 and covering 267 square miles in the oldest and smallest national park. The Köprülü Canyon National Park is home to the Cupressus sempervirens forests that is only found in Turkey. The park is also home to endemic plants and some rare species of animals. Although a large number of parks in the country are located in areas covered by forest, others such as the Munzur Valley, Baskomutan, and Nemrut Mountain are located in areas where steppe-type vegetation predominates.
Finland is home to 39 national parks that cover approximately 3,426 sq mi representing 2.95% of the country’s landmass. The parks are managed by the Metsähallitus who are also responsible for other protected areas of the country including forests and water catchment areas. Lemmenjoki National Park that was founded in 1956 and covers an area of approximately 1,100 sq mi is the largest park and oldest park while Southern Konnevesi was founded in 2014. In 2015, 2,286,500 visitors visited the parks of Finland earning the country 125.8 million euros.
There are 36 national parks in Norway covering approximately 9289 sq miles which represent 6.3% of the entire landmass of the state. Norway is known to be strict in preserving its natural habitats, and the country does not allow motor vehicles into the national parks although visitors are allowed to use bikes. The national parks are managed by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and the local county governor. The sør-spitsbergen national park which was founded in 1973 and covering an area of approximately 5,130 sq mi. The natural protection act that was enacted in 1954 established the national parks of the country although the first park was established in 1962.
European Nations With The Highest Number Of National Parks
|Rank||Country||Oldest (year)||Number of parks||Total area km²||Percentage of country area|
|12||United Kingdom||1951||15||19,989||8.2% (To be extended in 2016)|
|31||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1965||3||404||0.8%|
|33||Denmark||1974||3||1,889||4.38% [Without Greenland]|