The designation nature reserve in the Environmental Code (chap. 7: 4–8) is a more flexible form of protection than national park. It can be selected in order to preserve biological diversity, to protect and maintain valuable natural settings or to maintain an area needed for recreation. There is often a double goal. Nature reserves vary in size from small geological or botanical sites to larger areas rich in diversity.
The land in a reserve can be private and/or state-owned. If limitations in the use of the land are so great that the land-owner cannot use the land as intended, he has the right to economic compensation from public funds. Decisions about nature reserves are made by the county administrative boards or municipalities. Each decision about a reserve is accompanied by stipulations and a care plan.
As with valuable natural areas, valuable cultural landscapes can be designated cultural reserves (EC: chap. 7:9). In a cultural reserve all the natural and cultural environments are protected and cared for – buildings, sites, ancient remains and land, but also sites rooted in traditions and activities.
The Royal National City Park has two nature reserves: Igelbäcken and Ulriksdal.