Natural Resource Protection


This indicator measures a government’s commitment to habitat preservation and biodiversity protection.

Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction

Environmental protection of biomes and the biodiversity and ecosystems within those biomes supports long-term economic growth by providing essential ecosystem goods and services such as natural capital, fertile soil, climate regulation, clean air and water, renewable energy, and genetic diversity. 1 The appropriate management of ecosystems and the natural resources within those ecosystems promotes agricultural and non-agricultural productivity. 2 Some research suggests that economic growth will be increasingly difficult to sustain as the current population compromises or decimates the biomes that provide the natural resources that are essential to future development or sustenance. 3 Those in poverty, particularly subsistence farmers and those in rural areas, are most likely to be exposed to and affected by environmental degradation and biodiversity loss because they rely so directly on ecosystem services for their food security and livelihood. 4


Developed by CIESIN, this indicator assesses whether a country is protecting at least 17% of all of its biomes (e.g. deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, etc.). It is designed to capture the comprehensiveness of a government’s commitment to habitat preservation and biodiversity protection. The World Wildlife Fund provides the underlying eco-region data, and the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center—in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas and the World Database on Protected Areas Consortium—provides the underlying data on protected areas.


  • Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (CIESIN/YCELP)