From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg protect_class
Natianal park.png
To describe the class of a protected area. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: references
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Documented values: 12

boundary=protected_area or boundary=national_park

Useful combination
Status: in use

protect_class=* is used to describe the category of boundary=protected_area. See protected area of Conservation for more details.


The nature of the protected area is identified using protect_class=1a, 1b, 1 to 99 which are divided into four categories:

  • Conservation Land, derived from international definitions (1a, 1b, 1-6)
  • Other types of nature conservation (7, 97-99),
  • Resources conservation for important single resources(11-19) and
  • Social conservation for community and architecture (21-29).

Note that values 1 and 7-99 are not based on outside definitions and were invented for OSM.

The tables "Protect classes for various countries" below, provide guidance on the use of protect_class in specific countries.

Note that several of the values were proposed but have been very rarely used (for example, 11, 15, 16, and 26).

In some cases other tags are more common: boundary=national_park instead of 2, and boundary=aboriginal_lands instead of 24.

Nature Protected Area

Protected nature and landscape in ecosystem context, including promoted culture habits. Switch to the table of countries >>

Main Protected Area[1] Categories
Class Description Examples Rendering in
protect_class=1a or protect_class=1 Strict Nature Reserve (IUCN Category Ia)[1]: "...strictly set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly geological/geomorphological features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas can serve as indispensable reference areas for scientific research and monitoring." (IUCN definition)


protect_class=1b or protect_class=1 Wilderness Area (IUCN Category Ib): "...usually large unmodified or slightly modified areas, retaining their natural character and influence, without permanent or significant human habitation, which are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural condition." (IUCN definition)


protect_class=2 National Park (IUCN Category II): "Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, species and ecosystems... which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities." (IUCN definition)
protect_class=3 Natural Monument or Feature (IUCN Category III): "...protect a specific natural monument, which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave or even a living feature such as an ancient grove. They are generally quite small protected areas and often have high visitor value." Cultural and archaeological important (IUCN definition)
protect_class=4 Habitat/Species Management Area (IUCN Category IV): "...aim to protect particular species or habitats and management reflects this priority. Many category IV protected areas will need regular, active interventions to address the requirements of particular species or to maintain habitats, but this is not a requirement..." (IUCN definition)
protect_class=5 Protected Landscape/Seascape (IUCN Category V): "...area where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value: and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values." (IUCN definition)
protect_class=6 Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources (IUCN Category VI): "...conserve ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems. They are generally large, with most of the area in a natural condition, where a proportion is under sustainable natural resource management and where low-level non-industrial use of natural resources compatible with nature conservation is seen as one of the main aims of the area." (IUCN definition)

For small areas and single-value-protection see also resources-protected-area: protect_class=11 to 19.

Other Nature Protected Area Categories
Class Description* Examples Rendering in
protect_class=7 nature-feature area: similar to 4. but without IUCN-level.

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

Some habitats are protected by local- or district-law: areas to protect one specie, special cover of vegetation, geological site, ... (not rendered)
protect_class=97 A protected area protected by international continental agreements. They often cover sites already protected by national law. Used for the following conventions and treaties:

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

(not rendered)
protect_class=98 A protected area protected by intercontinental treaties or conventions. They often cover sites already protected by national law. Does not include a cross-border national park (which would be tagged protect_class=2). Used for the following conventions and treaties:

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

(not rendered)
protect_class=99 other continental or international, not yet classified. (not rendered) protect_class=99


Protected areas with a focus on single natural resources, including human living space itself, because of an important natural material or characteristic. Mostly appointed on community level. Switch to the table of countries.

Class Description Rendering in
protect_class=12 water: water protection area, fresh water, drinking water, springs, ...

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

protect_class=14 species: no fishing, protected for fishery, protected for hunting, plants, ...

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

(not rendered)
protect_class=15 location condition: floodwater retention area, protection forest, grazing land, ...

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value:

(not rendered)
protect_class=19 other national, This tag was used by an import in Poland for "Użytek ekologiczny" areas
  • Instead of this value, consider using protect_class=6 for areas protected for "sustainable use of natural resources"
(not rendered)


Important social interests. Visualize sociopolitical assets. Switch to the table of countries.

Class Description Rendering in
protect_class=21 Community life: religious, sacred areas, gathering places, recreation (this sense of "recreation" has given rise to value 21 being assigned to state parks in New York, USA)

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value.

(not rendered)

For example Jones Beach State Park

protect_class=22 Cultural assets (cultural assets and - efforts, districts historical heritage, monument conservation):
protection of sites with special architecture or historic interest, designed and created intentionally by people: urban layout, buildings, landscape, gardens, art-goods, ...

More commonly tagged with: historic=* and/or heritage=*

(not rendered)
protect_class=24 Political protection:

Consider using plain-English tagging alternatives instead of this value.

(not rendered)
protect_class=27 Currently used only for Norwegian "Friluftsområde", a category of outdoor space accessible made publicly accessible by Norwegian law. (not rendered)

Discouraged, legacy, and unused values of protect_class=*

Legacy values of protect_class=*
Class Description* Rendering in
protect_class=11 soil: crop yield, erosion protection, ... [This tag was proposed but never used] (not rendered)
protect_class=13 climate and -air: gasper supply/cold air, ... [This tag was proposed but never used. See boundary=low_emission_zone (LEZ).] (not rendered)
protect_class=16 longtime hazard area: contamination, earth-moving area, "problem sites" ... Formally deprecated by hazard=*. (not rendered)
23 Protection in favor of economics: special economic zones. Formally deprecated by boundary=special_economic_zone. (not rendered)
25 Military areas: military refuges, test area, ...

See military=*, landuse=military and Map_Features#Military instead. Formally deprecated by landuse=military and military=*.

(not rendered)
26 Historic: "for colonial-era entities and protectorates". More commonly tagged with: historic=* and/or heritage=*. (not rendered)
29 other social, not yet classified for ID 21 to 28. [This tag was proposed but has never been used] (not rendered)

Protect classes for various countries

The tables below provide guidance on the use of protect_class in different countries. If your country is undocumented then ask the appropriate (government) administration, use the talk page or your local mailing list for discussion and than add it below or add it to the "other"-levels. The following labeling is based upon the "IUCN Category" ... try to add ("harmonise") your country's protection-system to the table.


Switch to the description

Conservation Lands with an IUCN Category
Country 1a, 1b 2 3 4 5 6
Australia In Australia the title given to a protected area does not correlate to a specific IUCN category. Tagging should be based on data from CAPAD, see the Aust. Tagging Guidelines for more details.
Austria  Nationalpark  Naturschutzgebiet  Landschaftsschutzgebiet  Naturpark
Bolivia source -
  • Patrimonio Natural y Paisajístico (Landscape Natural Heritage)
  • Área Natural de Manejo Integrado (Integrated Management Natural Area)
Brazil Biological Reserve, State Ecological Station National Park, State Park, State Marine Park Wildlife Refuge State Area of Outstanding Ecological Interest State Environmental Protection Area Extractive Reserve, National Forest, State Sustainable Development Reserve, Extractive Reserve, National Forest
1a: Natuurreservaat
1b: Wildernisgebied
Nationaal park Natuurmonument Biotoop Beschermd landschap Ecosysteem
1a: Réserves naturelles domaniales (RND) et réserves naturelles agréées (RNA) intégrales - - Réserves naturelles domaniales (RND) et réserves naturelles agréées (RNA) dirigées, cavités souterraines d'intérêt scientifique (CSIS), zone humide d'intérêt biologique (ZHIB) Parc Naturel Réserve forestière (RF)
Bulgaria Резерват (Reserve) Национален парк (National Park) Природна забележителност (Natural Monument) Поддържан резерват

(Managed Nature Reserve)

Природен парк

(Natural Park)

Защитена местност (Protected site)
Canada Wilderness Area, Nature Conservancy of Canada Lands (Ia), Nature Reserve (Ia), Ecological Reserve (Ia), Special Place (Ia), Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Migratory Bird Refuge (Ia), Provincial Park, Territorial Park, Migratory Bird Sanctuary, National Historic Site, National Historic Park, Migratory Bird Sanctuary, -Refuge, Wildlife Management Area, Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Lands, Conservation Authority Area,Conservation Area, Recreation Site, Faunal Habitat, Salmon River, Wildlife Habitat - Waterfowl Gathering Area, Community Pasture, Migratory Bird Sanctuary,
China National Nature Reserves National Parks/National Geoparks/National Forest Parks/National Wetland Parks/National Desert Parks/National Water Parks/National Special Marine Protected Areas National Closed Sandified Land Protected Areas/National Typical Earthquake Sites National Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Conservation Areas/National Aquatic Germplasm Resources Conservation Areas/National Wood (Flower) Parks - -
Colombia - National Park / Parques Nacionales Naturales (PNN) y Reservas Nacionales Naturales (RNN) National Nature Monument / Área natural única Protected Site ( Santuarios de Flora y Fauna Regional Park /Parques Regionales Naturales (PRN) Área de Reserva Forestal (ARF)
Croatia Strict Reserve / Strogi rezervat National Park / Nacionalni park Special Reserve / Posebni rezervat Nature park / Park prirode Regional park /Regionalni park Nature monument / Spomenik prirode
Czech Republic National Nature Reserve, Nature Reserve National Park National Nature Monument, Natural Monument Protected Site Protected Landscape Area -
France Réserve intégrale Cœur de Parc national
  • Réserve naturelle nationale (si réserve géologique)
  • Réserve naturelle régionale (si réserve géologique)
  • Sites classés et inscrits
  • Réserve naturelle nationale
  • Réserve naturelle régionale
  • Réserve biologique
  • Réserve nationale de chasse et faune sauvage
  • Sites du Conservatoire du Littoral
  • Aire d'adhésion de Parc national
  • Parc naturel régional
  • Parc naturel marin
  • Sites du Conservatoire du Littoral
  • Espace naturel sensible
Parc naturel marin
Germany - Nationalpark - Naturschutzgebiet Naturpark, Landschaftsschutzgebiet -
India National parks in India Wildlife sanctuaries of India
Iran پارک ملی
National Park
اثر طبیعی ملی
National Natural Monument
پناهگاه حیات وحش
Wildlife Refuge
منطقه حفاظت شده
Protected Area
- Parco Nazionale, Parco Naturale Regionale, Area Naturale Marina Monumento Naturale, Sito Archeologico Riserva Naturale Statale/Regionale, Biotopo, Area Naturale Marina Zona umida, Area Protetta, Oasi, Parco Urbano, ecc. -
Japan [9] 1a: Wilderness Area (原生自然環境保全地域)
1b: Nature Conservation Area (自然環境保全地域) / Forest Ecosystem Reserve (森林生態系保護地域)
National Park (国立公園) / Quasi National Park (国定公園) [10] none resistered[11] Wildlife Protection Area (鳥獣保護区) / National Habitat Conservation Area (生息地等保護区) / Protected Water Surface (保護水面) National Park (国立公園) / Quasi National Park (国定公園) [10] / Prefectural Nature Conservation Area (都道府県自然環境保全地域) / Prefectural Natural Park (都道府県立自然公園) / Green Corridor (緑の回廊) Coastline Marine Resource Development Area (沿岸水産資源開発区域) / Common fishery right area (共同漁業権区域) / Area designated by prefecture, fishery operator group, etc. (指定海域)
Panama (IUCN-Ib) Reserva Científica Parque Nacional Monumento Natural Refugio de Vida Silvestre Reserva Hidrológica;
Paisaje Protegido;
Área Natural Recreativa
Reserva Forestal;
Área de Recursos Manejados
Philippines Wilderness Area National Park, Natural Park Natural Monument Bird Sanctuary, Wildlife Sanctuary Protected Landscape, Protected Seascape, Protected Landscape and Seascape, Managed Resource Protected Area, Natural Biotic Area Resource Reserve, Watershed Forest Reserve
Portugal Parque Nacional,

Parque Natural

Paisagem Protegida (*issued by National Authority),

Monumento Natural,

Sítio Classificado

Reserva Natural Paisagem Protegida (*issued by Local/Regional Authority),

Paisagem Protegida Regional,

Paisagem Protegida Local

Área Protegida Privada
Russia Ia: Zapovednik National Park Nature Monument Zakasnik -
Slovakia National Nature Reserve, Nature Reserve National Park National Nature Monument, Natural Monument Protected Site Protected Landscape Area -
Spain Integral Natural Reserves (Reservas Naturales Integrales) National Park (Parque Nacional) Natural Monument (Monumento Natural) Natural Reserves (Reservas Naturales), Protected Marine Area (Área Marina Protegida), (Site of Scientific Interest (Sitio de Interés Científico), Special Natural Reserve (Reserva Natural Especial) Natural Park (Parque Natural), Protected Landscape (Paisaje Protegido), Natural Areas of Special Interest (Áreas Naturales de Especial Interés) Rural Park (Parque Rural), Regional Park (Parque Regional)
South Africa Wilderness area National Park (Run by SANParks Natural Monument (e.g. Table Mountain) Provincial Reserve , Cape Nature Reserve (, KZN Parks (
Ukraine Nature Reserve, Zapovednik (Природний заповідник) National Nature Park, National Park (Національний природний парк) Natural Monument, Natural Nature Monument (Пам'ятка природи) Zakaznyk (Заказник); Conservation Stow (Заповідне урочище) Regional Landscape Park (Регіональний ландшафтний парк); Botanic Garden (Ботанічний сад); Dendrological Park (Дендрологічний парк); Zoological Park (Зоологічний парк); Park-monument of Landscape Art (Парк-пам'ятка садово-паркового мистецтва) -
United Kingdom
United States Consult the US Geological Survey Protected Area Database for IUCN categorization for all national, as well as most regional and state protected areas. Additional tagging guidelines can be found at United_States/Public_lands.
Country 1a, 1b 2 3 4 5 6

Other Nature-protected-areas

Country-specific usage of protect_class=7 (non-IUCN nature protected area)
Country protect_class=7
Croatia Significant landscape / Značajan krajobraz
Germany Geschützer Biotop, -Landschaftsbestandteil, Naturdenkmal, Horstschutzgebiet, Waldschutzgebiete (Schon- und Bannwald), Gewässerschutz, ...
South Africa Private Nature Reserve (Not run by government)
Basque Country[14]
United Kingdom[15] Local Nature Reserve


Switch to the description.

Country 11 12 13 14 15 16
Australia Water Catchment Protection Areas
Austria - Quellschutzgebiet, Wasserschutzgebiet IG Luft - Bannwald Altlast, Überschwemmungsgebiet, Hochwasserzone
Waterwinningsgebied Jachtgebied
Germany Bodenschutz Trinkwasserschutz, Trinkwassergewinnung, Heilquellenschutz, ... Kaltluftentstehung, Frischluftversorgung, Immissionsschutz-, ... Angelverbot, Fischereischutzzone, Jagdschutzgebiet, ... Retentionsraum, Schutzwald, Standort, Kontaminationsfläche, Bodenbewegungsgebiet, ...
Philippines Game Refuge, Marine Reserve
United States EPA Superfund site

Social Protected Area

Switch to the description.

Country 21 22 24 (possibly being deprecated by boundary=aboriginal_lands) 25 27* [1])
Australia monument conservation
Austria Kulturdenkmal, UNESCO-Kulturerbe (Truppenübungsplatz, Kaserne, Fernmeldeanlage, Munitionslager)
Brazil Indigenous Protected Areas
Colombia - - Indigenous Protected Areas and Afro Colombian Protected Areas: Resguardos indígenas y Tierras de Comunidades Negras - -
Germany Denkmalschutz -
Philippines UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites Ancestral Domains/Lands
Portugal UNESCO World Heritage List, MN - Monumento Nacional, MIP - Monumento de Interesse Público, SIP - Sítio de Interesse Público, IIP - Imóvel de Interesse Público, IIM - Imóvel de Interesse Municipal, IM - Interesse Municipal
Spain UNESCO Patrimonio de la Humanidad, Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC)
Switzerland Kulturgüterschutz (KGS Swiss Inventory) - - -
United Kingdom Conservation area
United States Consult United States Public Lands for a detailed breakdown.

National Protected Area Links

The following web sites can be consulted for more information about protected areas in each country.

Links to country-specific protected area information
Country Links
The categories of protected areas according to the IUCN
Bolivia Bolivia protected areas (broken link as of 11/22/2020)
Bulgaria източник (English)
Canada Conservation and protection of Canada’s forests
United States Consult the US Geological Survey Protected Area Database for IUCN categorization for all national, as well as most regional and state protected areas. Additional tagging guidelines can be found at United_States/Public_lands.
  1. 1.0 1.1 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)[2]
  2. Per [3], "The Natura 2000 sites are [...] considered as the contribution from the EU member States to the Emerald Network"
  3. Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA)
  4. The Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region
  5. Also known as the "Convention on Wetlands"
  6. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  7. UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp)
  8. World Heritage Convention
  9. based on the designation titles registered in the online IUCN database protectedplanet.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Only a fraction of (Quasi) National Parks is classified to IUCN Catogory II; the rest can be found in IUCN Category V.
  11. Natural Monument (天然記念物) is defined in the Act for the Protection of Cultural Properties (文化財保護法), but no entities are registered in the IUCN database.
  12. source
  13. Conservation and protection of Canada’s forests
  14. Adaptación Biotopos
  15. Note: due to publishing restrictions, data not on the WDPA