Digital Observatory for Protected Areas Explorer 2.0


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).

DOPA 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.

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.

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