Nature reserve

The Bee Lick Creek, of the Jefferson Memorial Forest, was designated as a National Audubon Society wildlife refuge.

A nature reserve may also be known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge or sanctuary, biosphere reserve (bioreserve), natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area. It is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for purposes of conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities, and research institutions. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park. Various jurisdictions may use other terminology, such as ecological protection area or private protected area in legislation and in reserves' official names.


Charles Waterton established the first nature reserve in 1821.

Cultural practices that roughly equate to the establishment and maintenance of reserved areas for animals date back to antiquity, with King Tissa of Ceylon establishing one of the world's earliest wildlife sanctuaries in the 3rd century BC.[1] Early reservations often had a religious underpinning, such as the 'evil forest' areas of West Africa which were forbidden to humans, who were threatened with spiritual attack if they went there. Sacred areas taboo from human entry to fishing and hunting are known by many ancient cultures worldwide.[2]

The world's first modern nature reserve was established in 1821 by the naturalist and explorer Charles Waterton around his estate in Walton Hall, West Yorkshire. He spent £9000 on the construction of a three mile long, 9 ft tall wall to enclose his park against poachers.[3] He tried to encourage bird life by planting trees and hollowing out trunks for owls to nest in.

Waterton invented artificial nest boxes to house starlings, jackdaws and sand martins; and unsuccessfully attempted to introduce little owls from Italy.[4] Waterton allowed local people access to his reserve and was described by David Attenborough as “one of the first people anywhere to recognise not only that the natural world was of great importance but that it needed protection as humanity made more and more demands on it”.[5]

Drachenfels (Siebengebirge) was protected as the first state-designated nature reserve in modern-day Germany; the site was bought by the Prussian State in 1836 to protect it from further quarrying.

The first major nature reserve was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States, followed by the Royal National Park near Sydney, Australia and the Barguzin Nature Reserve of Imperial Russia, the first of zapovedniks set up by a federal government entirely for the scientific study of nature.[6]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Natuurreservaat
العربية: محمية طبيعية
azərbaycanca: Qoruq
башҡортса: Ҡурсаулыҡ
български: Резерват
español: Reserva natural
Esperanto: Naturrezervejo
հայերեն: Արգելավայր
Bahasa Indonesia: Cagar alam
íslenska: Friðland
עברית: שמורת טבע
ქართული: ნაკრძალი
қазақша: Қорық
latgaļu: Nūlīgtiņs
latviešu: Dabas rezervāts
Lëtzebuergesch: Naturschutzgebitt
lietuvių: Draustinis
Bahasa Melayu: Cagar alam
Nederlands: Natuurreservaat
日本語: 自然保護区
norsk nynorsk: Naturreservat
олык марий: Заповедник
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Qoʻriqxona
português: Reserva natural
русский: Заповедник
Simple English: Nature reserve
slovenščina: Naravni rezervat
српски / srpski: Резерват природе
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Prirodni rezervat
Sunda: Cagar alam
svenska: Naturreservat
татарча/tatarça: Тыюлык