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Home > NIEA > Conserving Biodiversity > Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)

Last updated: 23 September 2010

picture of Lagan Meadows LNRLocal Nature Reserves, or LNRs for short, are areas that have been specially set aside for biodiversity and where people can enjoy wildlife.

In contrast to other designated sites such as national nature reserves, which tend to be areas with high importance for plants and animals, or with features of great geological interest, LNRs do not have to contain rare or threatened species or habitats – they are usually areas with good wildlife content which are accessible to people and provide them with opportunities to be close to wildlife. Hence, many LNRs lie within, or close to, urban areas.

Local Nature Reserves are very much what their name suggests – sites where the principle objective is nature conservation, but where local people can have easy access and be involved, for example, in practical conservation measures taken on site.

The establishment of Local Nature Reserves or LNRs

  • helps to protect local biodiversity
  • raises awareness of biodiversity at a local level, and
  • allows people to interact with biodiversity on their doorstep

Why are LNRs needed?

Declaring a site as a LNR is a visible sign of a local authority’s commitment to protecting biodiversity. Often designation is linked to actions and targets within a council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP).

LNRs are important for several reasons

They help to protect valuable habitats and natural heritage, including geological features

  • raise awareness of wildlife through publicity, events, site signage, etc.
  • provide opportunities for people to encounter and enjoy wildlife
  • can be used for environmental education
  • help to create a sense of ownership of the site by local people
  • can provide a chance for local communities and volunteers to be involved in practical biodiversity projects and site management

Take a tour around our Local Nature Reserves