Protected Areas


 Areas Protected

 738 km2

Terrestrial and Inland Water



Area protected, as per WDPA

Area protected, as per country reports

Coastal and Marine Coverage

Not Applicable

Area protected or conserved,
as per WDPA

Key species

For a small country, Eswatini has a rich floral and faunal diversity. Of the over 3,500 plant species that have been recorded, 12 are endemic. 89 species of vertebrates and 305 species of plants are listed in National Red Lists. 813 species of vertebrates have been recorded, with just one endemic, the major rock gecko (Afroedura major).

Pressures and threats

The main pressures behind the country’s changing biodiversity include habitat loss and habitat change for increasing agriculture and for urbanisation and settlements, as well as wildfires, and invasive species. 80% of Eswatini is infested with at least one invasive plant species. Unsustainable harvesting of plant and animal species for medicinal purposes is a major threat to many species. Likewise, unsustainable harvesting of trees for charcoal production has had a major impact on habitat for many bird and mammal species.

The country’s protected area estate has increased from 3.9% in 2017 to 4.26% in 2018. Eswatini’s protected area estate is comprised of very small and vulnerable protected areas poorly distributed across ecosystems. There is, therefore, a need to expand the protected area estate, while strengthening protected area management competencies. This in turn will require the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, including private landholders, local communities and the tourism industry.

Protected and conserved areas designated as global sites of importance

Global designation

Number of sites

UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves


UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Natural or Mixed)


Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)


 Source ((Ramsar, 2019; UNESCO, 2019a, 2019b)


Priority areas for conservation


Number of sites

Alliance for Zero Extinction sites


Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas


Key Biodiversity Areas


 (AZE Secretariat, 2019; BirdLife International, 2019c, 2019a)

Regional Reference Information System Eswatini

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Protected Areas Management and Biodiversity Conservation

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