Indicator 15.1.2

Indicator Name, Target and Goal

Indicator 15.1.1: Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type

Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements 

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Definition and Rationale


This indicator Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas shows temporal trends in the mean percentage of each important site for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity (i.e., those that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity) that is covered by designated protected areas. SDG indicator 15.1.2 is composed of two sub-indicators:

  1. Average proportion of Freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) covered by protected areas (%)
  2. Average proportion of Terrestrial Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) covered by protected areas (%)


Protected areas, as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; Dudley 2008), are clearly defined geographical spaces, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. Importantly, a variety of specific management objectives are recognized within this definition, spanning conservation, restoration, and sustainable use:

– Category Ia: Strict nature reserve

– Category Ib: Wilderness area

– Category II: National park

– Category III: Natural monument or feature

– Category IV: Habitat/species management area

– Category V: Protected landscape/seascape

– Category VI: Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources

Rationale and Interpretation:

The safeguard of important sites is vital for stemming the decline in biodiversity. The establishment of protected areas is an important mechanism for achieving this aim, and this indicator serves as a means of measuring progress toward the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements. Importantly, while it can be disaggregated to report on any given single ecosystem of interest (e.g., forests), it is not restricted to any single ecosystem type, and so faithfully reflects the intent of SDG target 15.1. Levels of access to protected areas vary among the protected area management categories. Some areas, such as scientific reserves, are maintained in their natural state and closed to any other use. Others are used for recreation or tourism, or even open for the sustainable extraction of natural resources. In addition to protecting biodiversity, protected areas have become places of high social and economic value: supporting local livelihoods; protecting watersheds from erosion; harbouring an untold wealth of genetic resources; supporting thriving recreation and tourism industries; providing for science, research and education; and forming a basis for cultural and other non-material values. This indicator adds meaningful information to, complements and builds from traditionally reported simple statistics of territorial area covered by protected areas, computed by dividing the total protected area within a country by the total territorial area of the country and multiplying by 100. Such percentage area coverage statistics do not recognise the extreme variation of biodiversity importance over space, and so risk generating perverse outcomes through the protection of areas which are large at the expense of those which require protection.

Unit of measure:

Percentage (%).


The Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established and available methodology and standards, and that data is regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.

Data Sources and Collection Method

Data sources:

The Land Cover Map 2015:

The National Land Cover Representation System (NLRS):

Data collection methods:

Data collection calendar: 2020

Data release calendar: 2025

Data providers: Forest Department, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Data compilers: Forest Department, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Institutional mandate: Through the Statistical Act 2013, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) is mandated to generate official statistics or provide guidance to other agencies for producing official statistics. Responsibilities for each ministry to support specific SDG indicators is outlined in the Mapping of Ministries by Targets in the implementation of SDGs aligning with 7th Five Year Plan (2016-20) document, which lists Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as the official Lead Ministry for this indicator. The Forest Department is the designated line agency within the Ministry for this indicator.

Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations

Computation Method:

The indicator is computed by dividing the total number of KBAs wholly covered by protected areas by the total number of KBAs in each country, and multiplying by 100. “Wholly protected” is defined as >98% coverage to allow for resolution and digitization errors in the underlying spatial datasets.

Comments and limitations: 

Method of computation: 

This indicator is calculated from data derived from a spatial overlap between digital polygons for protected areas from the World Database on Protected Areas (IUCN & UNEP-WCMC 2017) and digital polygons for terrestrial and freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (from the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas, including Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, and other Key Biodiversity Areas; available through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool).


Quality checking of land cover attributes is completed using multiple approaches including a spatial topology check, an attribute check, a consistency check, expert judgment and field validation.

Quality Management:

Quality Assurance:

Quality Assessment:

Accuracy assessment analysis uses a pseudo-ground truth validation technique, with stratified random sampling by district and by land cover class. The most commonly used measures of accuracy (i.e., overall accuracy, user’s accuracy, producer’s accuracy) were estimated following the approach presented in Jalal et al. (2019).

The overall accuracy of the Land Cover Map 2016 was estimated at 89%. User’s accuracy ranged from 20% to 99% while producer’s accuracy ranged from 13% to 100%. The detail methodological process and results (including the accuracy, uncertainty and adjusted area estimates) of land cover 2015 are presented in Jalal et al. (2019).

Data Disaggregation

  • Division: Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet.
  • Protected area management category: categories I–VI
  • Ecosystem type: Forest, marine, terrestrial, freshwater

Comparability/ deviations from international standards

Forest area previously published for Bangladesh in the Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) report is different from the statistic produced using the current approach because of methodological differences.


Official SDG Metadata URL

Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
FRA 2020 Terms and definitions:

FRA 2020 Guidelines and Specifications: 

Other references

These metadata are based on

supplemented by:

International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring

This document was prepared based on inputs from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

For focal point information for this indicator, please visit