New database takes conservation into the 21st century

conservation database mapA new database and mapping tool could help shape the way conservation decision making is made.

The United Nations Environment Program has partnered with conservation organisations to create a database of protected areas online, which is accessible by all using Google map technology. The aim is to provide crucial information from goverments to NGOs when assessing environmental impacts and private sector decision-making.

The World Database on Protected Areas was previously only accessible by scientists, but in this new form anyone from biology students to gold prospectors can, relatively simply, learn more about landscapes and if all goes to plan: use this information to improve development strategies.

The database contains information from international to regional conventions, such as UNESCO'S World Heritage Sites to the EC Habitats Directive.

The database also provides biodiversity information so areas that contain endangered species are also highlighted, even if the land area is not protected. Their is also a function where individuals can sign up and contribute to the data sets to allow the information to be kept up to date.