an area of land where the animals and plants are protected The area has been designated a nature reserve. See related entries: Hobbies, Conservation Culturenature reservesNature conservation areas are areas of the countryside which have special protection under law because they have interesting or unusual wild plants or animals in them.In Britain there are now several hundred national nature reserves and several thousand local nature reserves and marine nature reserves. Many contain species that are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. In addition, some relatively small pieces of land get special protection as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) because rare or endangered plants or animals are to be found there, or because they have special geological (= rock) features. There are several thousand SSSIs in Britain, many of which are not open to the public. In theory, SSSIs are safe from the threat of commercial development, but this is not always the case in fact. Despite protests, several SSSIs have been lost in recent years to make way for new roads.Nature conservation areas in Britain are managed by Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Naural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, with the help of local wildlife trusts and natural history societies.The US also has many nature preserves. People can visit them for enjoyment or to do scientific research, but must stay on paths and cannot disturb or remove anything. They are not allowed to drive vehicles, camp, hunt or start fires. A popular type of nature preserve is the wildlife refuge, such as Lake Woodruff Natural Wildlife Refuge in Florida, where John James Audubon once watched and drew birds.There are also many national forests, rivers and seashores, and scenic trails (= paths). Many national monuments are also natural areas. They include the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, Lava Beds in California and Organ Pipe Cactus in Arizona. The US National Park Service is in charge of all of these and cares for the plants, animals and scenery so that they can be enjoyed by the public.