% of land,  % of marine waters covered by protected areas.
  species and   habitats are protected under EU law

France being the largest country in Western Europe, has a variety of landscapes, with an terrestrial area of close to 548 000 km² and a marine areas close to 370 000km² split between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It is bordered by 8 other countries. The highest point is Mont Blanc at 4 809m on the Italian border, the highest mountain in Western Europe. France has a population of 67 million people and a population density of 105.6 people per km².

Protected areas

  Protected areas

 % of land

 % of marine waters

There are a total of   protected areas in ,   Natura 2000 sites -   Special Protection Areas (Birds Directive) and   Sites of Community Importance (Habitat Directive) - as well as   sites designated under national laws.


 % of the network is protected only through national laws

 % of the network consists solely of Natura 2000 sites

 % consist of and overlap between the two.

The average size of protected areas in Europe is lower compared to other regions of the world. This largely reflects the high degree of fragmentation of the land in Europe due to urbanisation, infrastructure and general intensification of land use. At a EU level 50% of protected areas have an area of less than 1 km². The 10 largest marine sites account for 68% of the marine area, while the 10 largest land sites account for 41% of the land area covered by protected areas

Size distribution of 's land protected areas network



Size distribution of 's water protected areas network



Natura 2000 sites in cover   species and   habitats from the nature directives. The number of species and habitats protected in each site varies depending on the location of the site, the biodiversity in the region, the designation being used, and the features the site is being created to protect. For   sites there is only 1 feature being protected with   sites having more than 20 features.


Protected species

Species protected in under EU law are protected under the Habitats Directive and under the Birds Directive. The Habitats Directive has a total of 2 500 species on its list, the Birds Directive has a total of 500 species of wild birds protected.

  species protected under EU law in

  species are unique to

  species under the Habitats Directive

  species under the Birds Directive

Conservation status: Habitats Directive

 % of species are considered to be Good

 % of species are considered to be Poor

 % of species are considered to be Bad

 % of species are considered to be Unknown

Conservation Status by Taxa


Protected species composition by Taxa


Protected habitats

Habitats protected in under EU law are protected under the Habitats Directive. The Habitats Directive has a total of 233 habitats on its list.

  habitats protected under EU law in .

Conservation status: Habitats Directive

 % of habitats are considered to be Good

 % of habitats are considered to be Poor

 % of habitats are considered to be Bad

 % of habitats are considered to be Unknown

Conservation Status by Group

Habitat composition by Group








MAES in France:

The French national ecosystem assessment is called EFESE for "Evaluation française des écosystèmes et des services écosystémiques".

EFESE is a science-policy-society platform led by the Ministry for an Ecological and solidarity transition. It aims to facilitate the integration of biodiversity into decisions in France. This platform builds on a shared conceptual framework and national governance that brings together experts, policy makers and stakeholders. It covers all ecosystems in France, from terrestrial to marine, from metropolitan to ultramarine, from highly natural to artificial.

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Green infrastructure in France:

Target 5 of the National Biodiversity Strategy 2011-2020 is to: “Build Green Infrastructure including a coherent network of protected areas”. In relation to this target, the Strategy underscores that “defining, preserving and restoring the green and blue infrastructure to good condition is a priority, although we must be alert to its impact on the movements of invasive alien species and its role as a pathway for the transmission of disease.” It further states that green and blue infrastructure must be designed in a coherent manner on all territorial levels, and also incorporated in overseas territories. It emphasises the role of protected areas as the key elements of this infrastructure: “the construction of a network of protected areas on land and at sea, in mainland France and overseas, in an approach based on ecological coherence and solidarity, is essential to implementing a national green infrastructure”.

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National Biodiversity strategy for France:

To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

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