What are the functions of IUCN

Criterion 2 - National Park

Large natural or semi-natural areas that have been established to protect ecological processes and to complement the species and ecosystems characteristic of the area. They form the basis for environmentally and culturally compatible, intellectual, scientific, educational, recreational and visiting opportunities.


  • Protection of natural biodiversity and ecological structure, support of environmental processes and promotion of education and recreation.
  • Manage the area in such a way that physiographic regions, biotic communities, genetic resources and undisturbed natural processes are preserved in the most natural state possible.
  • Maintaining viable and ecologically viable populations and collections of native species at a density sufficient to maintain the resilience of the ecosystem in the long term.
  • Preservation of extensive species, regional ecological processes and migration routes.
  • Control visitor usage so that there is no significant biological or ecological degradation of natural resources.
  • Taking into account the needs of the indigenous population, including the use of subsistence resources.
  • Contribute to the local economy through tourism.

Distinguishing features:
Category II areas are typically large and maintain a functioning "ecosystem", although in order to achieve this, the protected area may need to be complemented by benevolent management in the surrounding areas.

  • The area should contain examples of natural regions and biological and ecological features or landscapes.
  • The area should be of sufficient size and ecological quality to preserve ecological functions and processes that enable long-term survival with minimal administrative intervention.
  • The composition, structure and function of biodiversity should to a large extent be in a "natural" state or have the potential to restore such a state.

To the overview of the protected areas of the world