World Heritage Facts and Figures

There are 229 natural World Heritage sites

  • 197 classified as natural sites
  • 32 mixed sites classified as both natural and cultural

Natural and mixed World Heritage sites protect over 280 million hectares (ha) of land and sea and represent 22% of all 1031 World Heritage properties.

Of all natural World Heritage sites, 108 are forest sites, 46 are marine sites and 15 are transboundary sites.

97 countries have an area designated as a natural or mixed World Heritage Site.

  • 6 in Arab States
  • 41 in Africa
  • 41 in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 70 in Asia and the Pacific
  • 71 in Europe and North America

To date, 18 natural and mixed World Heritage sites are on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 

Top 10 biggest natural World Heritage sites

Site Country
Total area (ha)
1. Phoenix Islands Protected Area
Kiribati
40,825,813
2. Papahānaumokuākea
USA
36,479,268
3. Great Barrier Reef
Australia
34,823,325
4. Galápagos
Ecuador
14,696,203
5. Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek
USA / Canada
9,728,368
6. Lake Baikal
Russia
8,550,838
7. Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves
Niger
7,869,613
8. Tassili n’Ajjer
Algeria
7,571,268
9. Central Amazon Conservation Complex
Brazil
5,131,312
10. Selous Game Reserve
Tanzania
4,751,807

Top 10 countries with the largest natural World Heritage coverage

Country Total area (hectares)1
% of national protected areas2
1. United States of America
46,513,654
13%
2. Australia
45,616,424
11%
3. Kiribati
40,825,813
100%
4. Russian Federation
23,432,990
11%
5. Ecuador
14,948,879
72%
6. Canada
10,752,043
11%
7. Niger
8,092,128
39%
8.Algeria
7,571,268
41%
9. Tanzania
6,972,264
22%
10. Democratic Republic of the Congo
6,895,266
24%

1. UNEP-WCMC (2015) Global Statistics from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA): February 2015. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC. All areas are calculated from GIS boundaries using the Mollweide equal area projection for consistency.
2. Data includes all designated protected areas recorded in WDPA (including land, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, February 2015) except for UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves.