National nature protection

The most important way of protecting nature is by protecting natural areas. Protecting natural areas also means protecting animal and plant species, the landscape and our opportunities for enjoying nature.

Photo: / 1900

The most important means of protecting nature are area and species protection, nature management, nature restoration, planning, surveillance, conservation orders, protection lines, agreements, subsidies and information campaigns. Nature protection must be on the basis of the EU directives and international agreements which Denmark is bound to follow.

National plan for species management

Denmark is to have a national plan for species management. The plan will strengthen work by the Nature Agency on rare and endangered plant and animal species in Denmark and it will enhance diversity in the Danish countryside.

Many nature sites have disappeared from the landscape over the past 50 years. When these natural areas disappear, many wild animals and plants also vanish. To slow down this development, the Danish Folketing (parliament) decided in 1972 to protect specific types of nature. In 1992, these regulations were expanded into the so-called Nature Conservation Act, which includes provisions for the protection of various natural types.

What is covered?

Around 10 percent of Denmark's area is protected under section 3 of the Nature Conservation Act. This includes: lakes, bogs, freshwater meadows, salt marshes ("strandeng"), heathlands, pastures, and streams. These nature types are protected wherever they occur in Denmark. An area can be protected even if it is not registered as protected. This happens when an area either grows into or out of protection.

In addition to section 3 protection, there are other forms of nature protection in Danish legislation, such as conservation and Natura 2000.


Since the Nature Conservation Act came into force in 1917, it has been possible to protect natural areas through preservation ("fredning"). This makes preservation the oldest form of nature protection in Danish legislation. preservation also represents the most comprehensive form of protection, imposing significant restrictions on the use of natural areas. As preservation, in many respects, has characteristics similar to expropriation, owners have the possibility to receive compensation if an area is preserved.

Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is a network of protected natural areas across the EU. Natura 2000 areas consist of habitat and bird protection areas, as well as Ramsar sites (internationally protected wetlands). The aim of these areas is to preserve and protect natural habitats and wild animal and plant species that are rare, threatened, or characteristic of EU countries. Member states commit to developing action plans for their respective Natura 2000 areas.