Managing protected areas

The French Biodiversity Agency (OFB) manages protected areas, outstanding areas in terms of species, habitats, ecological functions and services provided, especially since human activities are the main cause of biodiversity loss.

France's protected natural areas cover approximately 21% of land and 23.5% of waters. Many of them are managed directly by, or related to, the OFB. Others are managed by separate operators: other public institutions, local authorities, professional bodies, associations, etc.


Map of protected areas managed, co-managed or attached to the OFB.

The Marine Nature Parks

The 9 Marine Nature Parks (including 3 in overseas France) undertake many actions in the aim to understanding and protecting outstanding ecosystems, while facilitating the sustainable development of economic or recreational activities. These actions are carried out under the governance of management councils, in partnership with local stakeholders.

The objective of the Agoa Sanctuary, a marine protected area of more than 140,000 km2, is to improve the understanding and protection of marine mammals against the direct or indirect, known or potential adverse impacts of human activities.

The OFB manages or co-manages protected areas

The OFB directly manages or co-manages protected areas, to which it dedicates human, financial and technical resources:

  • 9 Marine Nature Parks (6 in mainland France and 3 in the French overseas territories);
  • The Agoa Sanctuary for marine mammals in the West Indies;
  • 109 marine Natura 2000 sites and 4 terrestrial Natura 2000 sites;
  • 8 National Nature Reserves (RNN);
  • 8 National Hunting and Wildlife Reserves (RNCFS) managed by the OFB, out of the 10 existing RNCFS;
  • 11 Hunting and Wildlife Reserves (RCFS);
  • 3 Corsican Hunting and Wildlife Reserves (RCFS de Corse);
  • 1 Man & Biosphere Reserve;
  • Sites of the Coastal Conservatory;
  • 1 Biotope Protection order (APB).
Crédit photo : Wilfried Thomas / OFB
Crédit: Yannick Stéphan / Mayotte découverte
Crédit photo : Yves Gladu / Office français de la biodiversité

The 26 Reserves, under varying legal designations (national nature reserve, national hunting and wildlife reserve, hunting and wildlife reserve, etc.), cover a total surface area of 53,000 hectares.

The OFB contributes also to the definition and implementation of national strategies for the creation and management of protected areas.

The OFB is at the heart of the networks with the Conference on protected areas (CAP), a body created and led by the OFB to bring together major national networks such as managers from: National Parks, Regional Nature Parks, Nature Reserves, Conservatories of natural areas, Ramsar sites, Man and Biosphere sites, the National Forestry Office, marine and coastal protected areas, etc. The CAP provides the OFB’s Board of Directors with advice on its "protected areas" policy. It is also a consultative forum on protected areas for the public authorities.