The U.S. established the world's first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. Other countries soon followed, including the Royal National Park established in Australia in 1879, the Rocky Mountain National Park in Canada in 1885 and the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand in 1887.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, tracks the world's progress on preserving natural habitats. Today the agency represents more than 100,000 protected areas worldwide, covering one-eighth of the earth's land mass.
Read more energy & sustainability news.