The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has admitted ten new sites in Switzerland, France, Italy to the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, the global standard recognising the best-managed sites on the planet. Three existing Green List sites in the Republic of Korea and one in Italy saw their status renewed. The IUCN Green List now counts 59 sites in 16 countries around the world.
“The sites admitted to the IUCN Green List have distinguished themselves through exemplary management, fair governance and a long-term commitment to successful conservation,” said IUCN Director General Dr Bruno Oberle. “Effective protected and conserved areas are critical if we are to halt the dramatic loss of life on Earth we are seeing. As IUCN and the global community call for the protection of 30% of our planet’s surface by 2030, IUCN Green List sites provide the best examples of effectiveness and inclusiveness, which are essential for our efforts to succeed.”
The Swiss National Park becomes Switzerland’s first Green List site. Established in 1914 in the canton of the Grisons, the park is designated as a Strict Nature Reserve (IUCN Category Ia) and forms part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Engiadina Val Müstair. The park covers 170 km2 of forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, and rock and scree. Nationally-threatened species such as golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) breed within its borders.
Seven of the newly-certified Green List sites are in France, increasing the country’s total to 22, the highest number in the world to date. They include the recently established Coloraie du Volcan Forest Management Biological Reserves, a site combining unique coastal and forest ecosystems in La Réunion, as well as France’s highest protected area, the Contamines-Montjoie National Nature Reserve in the French Alps. The other newly-listed sites in France are: Drugeon Basin Natura 2000 site, Marshes of the lower valleys of the Essonne and the Juine, Tour du Valat Estate, Sainte-Victoire National Nature Reserve, and Haut-Giffre and Aiguilles Rouges National Nature Reserves.
Two protected areas in Italy were added to the IUCN Green List; Arcipelago Toscano National Park and Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park, while the Green List status of the country’s first National Park, Gran Paradiso, was renewed. An archipelago of seven Mediterranean islands including Elba, with high endemic floral diversity, the Arcipelago Toscano National Park is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Isole di Toscana. The Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park, in the Apennine mountains, conserves one of Italy’s largest old-growth beech forests, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also recognised with a European Diploma for Protected Areas.
The IUCN Green List Committee, which reviews nominations on behalf of IUCN, also renewed the Green List status of Jirisan, Odaesan and Seoraksan National Parks in the Republic of Korea. Jirisan is the first established national park in the Republic of Korea and is known as a “mountain of life” for its considerable biodiversity as well as cultural assets. The park successfully conserves the globally threatened Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) along with many other ecologically significant species. It also protects over 300 cultural sites including one of the major temples in the country, Sanggyesa temple. Odaesan National Park is known for its five mountain peaks and successful conservation of designated Ramsar wetland sites of global importance. It also hosts and protects a 1000-year-old temple designated as a National Treasure. Seoraksan National Park conserves the globally threated Long-tailed Goral (Naemorhedus caudatus). All three sites had first achieved the IUCN Green List distinction in 2014.
“We are encouraged by the fact that a record number of protected and conserved areas have newly qualified for the coveted IUCN Green List status, demonstrating their effectiveness in delivering benefits for people and nature. Their achievement creates an incentive for the more than 500 candidate sites in 50 countries which have formally expressed interest in joining the Green List to further improve their management and governance,” said Trevor Sandwith, Global Director of IUCN’s Protected and Conserved Areas Programme.
Sites on the IUCN Green List have demonstrated excellence based on a rigorous assessment against the IUCN Green List Standard of 17 criteria structured in four components: good governance, sound design and planning, effective management as well as successful conservation outcomes.
Header image: Hands Lozza, Swiss National Park.