DOPA Explorer Characterizes 95% of World’s Protected Areas

16 February 2018: The European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) has launched the second version of the DOPA Explorer, a global information system (GIS) that characterizes the world’s protected areas. As part of the JRC’s Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), the first version of DOPA Explorer was launched in April 2015 to assess terrestrial, marine, and coastal protected areas.

DOPA Explorer identifies protected areas with critical ecosystems and species, and examines pressures on them as a result of human activities. Based on global reference datasets, DOPA provides consistent and comparable indicators on protected area coverage, connectivity, species, ecosystems, and pressures at country, eco-region and protected area scales. Such indicators support spatial planning, resource allocation, protected area development and management, and national and international reporting. They also support monitoring towards the Sustainable Development Goal on life on land (SDG 15) and life below water (SDG 14), as well as the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (protected areas).SDG-goals_Goal-14 Life Below Water

SDG-goals_Goal-15 Life On LandDOPA Explorer 2.0, which was launched in Ispra, Italy, on 15 February 2018, covers 22,897 species and 23,863 protected areas. It is based on the October 2017 World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) and includes a revised interface that can be used on multiple devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.). DOPA Explorer 2.0 indicators provide assessments for protected areas larger than 50 square km or approximately 24,000 protected areas, meaning that the system documents more than 95% of the global surface currently covered by protected areas. The previous version of the Explorer assessed around 16,000 areas larger than 100 square km.

New indicators in the updated version address the connectivity of protected area systems, as well as those derived from Copernicus Earth observation services, which highlight changes in land cover, surface water, and built-up areas in protected areas. In the coming months, additional languages will be added to the system, and regional reporting needs will be further addressed. DOPA’s new data and modeling infrastructure will enable the Explorer to be updated more regularly.

DOPA supports international conservation efforts; is used by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and decision-makers; will support the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the CBD in November 2018; and will assist in preparing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the next EU Biodiversity Strategy (2020-2030). It also supports a series of factsheets that provide detailed information on terrestrial and marine coverage by protected areas, and the system’s main indicators, including connectivity, species lists and statistics, terrestrial habitat diversity, marine habitat diversity, climate and elevation, land cover, inland surface water, forest cover, agricultural pressure, road pressures, population pressure and built up pressure.SDG-goals_Goal-17 Partnerships For The Goals

The JRC and the CBD work together to ensure that DOPA tools and services help countries plan, monitor, evaluate and report their efforts to conserve biodiversity. DOPA also supports the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme, which aims to improve the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in protected areas and communities in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries by providing analytical tools, datasets, capacity development and financial support.

The updated version was developed in collaboration with the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and BirdLife International. [European Commission News] [DOPA Explorer Website] [An Introduction to DOPA Explorer 2.0] [Indicator Factsheets]

References: International Institute for Systainablw Devekopment. 2018. Retrieved from

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