Conservation data

Remote sensing main page




For more information on vegetation, human population sizes, landcover, and landuse, see the landcover data links. Species distribution information can be found at the movement data link.


Click here to jump to local scale data sources



Global coverage

  • The Human Footprint, mapping "our mark on wild places" can be obtained through WCS or CIESIN at Columbia University (raw data at CIESIN)
  • The World Database on Protected Areas obtained through the UNEP-WCMC (but here in the near future) provides a range of information of the world's protected areas, all downloadable as spatial datasets.
  • You can obtain a range of spatial datasets from WWF's Conservation Science Programme, including Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (including a global freshwater database), Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World, Marine Ecoregions of the World.
  • Birdlife International offers a wide range of spatial datasets, including maps of all the Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), Important Bird Areas (IBA), a Marine e-atlas, and country profiles (which provide links to maps of each country's conservation areas). Many of these datasets can be requested from the Birdlife Secretariat Science team via email.
  • Global fisheries data can be obtained through the UN FAO, including regional fish bodies, and aquaculture production.
  • The Global Forest Watch database provides data on logging concessions and protected areas for a number of countries. You can also browse data on their interactive map that combines data from the GLCF and Landsat.
  • Project Global aims to provide a database of bycatch and mitigation studies around the globe.
  • WWF's PADDDtracker (Tracking Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement) is a crowd-sourced online mapping tool that provide a good overview on the state of the world's protected areas. Right now you cannot yet download data, but this functionality seems to be in the works. This paper in Conservation Letters explain PADDDtracker in a little more detail.
  • The European Union's Land Resource Management Unit offers a range of protected areas datasets, linked to the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), including complimentary tools such as the African Protected Areas Assessment Tool (APAAT), eHabitat for habitat and niche modelling, eStation for monitoring of terrestrial ecosystems, eSpecies for indicators of species richness and diversity, GES as a tool for mapping ecosystem services, and a web-based validation tool for assessing landcover change.
  • NASA's Suomi NPP VIRRS satellite data are great for fire prevalence and population density data, using the nightlight dataset. VIRRS data can be accessed through the Naval Research Lab, LAADS, NOAA, or via FTP. Data access tutorials here and here.
  • PREDICTS, for biodiversity data to map nature's responses to human pressures.



Local coverage

North America



  • GIS data from South African National Parks (SANPARKS), including data for each of South Africa's National Parks, available here. This includes ecological data, hydrology data, boundaries, human activity data, climate data, and even wildlife data. This website in some ways also seem to be a depository for ranger dairy and student data, so it's worth exploring a little. Data specific to Kruger Park can be found here.
  • The South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)'s BGIS website offers a range of biodiversity GIS resources related to conservation planning in South Africa. At the very basic there are protected areas maps, vegetation maps, and freshwater ecosystem maps, but for many areas there are biodiversity information available even at the municipal (county) level, as well as for some provinces such as Gauteng.
  • The South African National Biodiversity Institute has developed a number of decision support tools for conservation planners, including a Municipal Biodiversity Plan Index, Species Distribution Mapping tool, and Land use Decision Support tool.




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