Specially protected natural areas are geographical territories, that are under special state-level protection, in order to safeguard and maintain biodiversity of nature – rare and typical ecosystems, habitats for rare species,landscapes, that are peculiar, beautiful and characteristic for Latvia, geological and geomorphological formations, as well as territories, significant for recreational and educational purposes.
The protected areas are classified according following categories: strict nature reserves, nature parks, nature reserves , national parks, biosphere reserves, natural monuments, areas of protected landscapes.
Altogether in Latvia there are 684 specially protected natural areas certified by law or regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers, including:
4 national parks,
1 biosphere reserve,
4 strict nature reserves,
9 areas of protected landscapes,
42 nature parks,
259 nature reserves,
3 nature reserve zones,
7 protected marine areas,
355 nature monuments.
The most of these protected areas are established as Natura 2000 – protection areas of European level.
There is information given below about all the nature reserves, nature parks, restricted areas, national parks, protected landscape areas, the biosphere reservation, that are found in the particular administrative territory. In addition the list includes also geological and geomorphological nature monuments and microreserves, stated as Natura 2000 areas.