Nature conservation areas


Nature conservation areas shall protect vulnerable and threatened habitats and preserve areas of international, national and regional value. It is the Government of Norway and Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament) that set the framework for the protection of nature in Norway. In Svalbard, the protection measures are implemented by The Governor of Svalbard based on the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act. 

In Svalbard, there are seven national parks, 21 nature reserves and one geotope protected area. The nature conservation areas account for approx. 65% of the land area and 84% of territorial waters.

Administration and authority
The administrative authority for the nature conservation areas in Svalbard is assigned to The Governor of Svalbard, which will manage the nature conservation areas and exercise authority in accordance with the protection regulations. The protection regulation for each protected area sets limits for what is and what is not permitted and which exemptions can be granted. Further to this, the administrative authority shall report, and possibly review, breaches of provisions in the protection regulations and prepare management plans.

Management plans
The protection regulations provide a certain margin for the exercise of discretion. In the practical and daily management of protected areas, it is therefore necessary to have management plans that elaborate on and clarify the protection regulations. A management plan shall ensure unified management of protected areas by providing specific guidelines for the use of the areas, information, maintenance and case processing. The management plans will also help avoid random decisions being made that may be detrimental to the conservation values.