Biodiversity loss is a growing concern. Protected areas are a instrument to counteract this trend. The UN's Convention on Biological Diversity conference of the parties in Nagoya (October 2010) set stringent new targets to be reached by 2020. At least 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas have to be protected. But are protected areas really protected? Are they in the right place? Where should new protected areas be located? The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), in collaboration with other partners, is helping decision-makers to find their way through the vast amount of information needed to answer these and other questions by setting up a Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA).
DOPA is conceived as a set of distributed databases and open, interoperable web services to provide decision-makers and researchers with a means to assess, monitor and forecast the state of, and pressure on, protected areas on a global scale. It should help them prioritise and support them in decision-making and fund allocation processes. DOPA's modelling capabilities and global coverage will also enable to go beyond existing boundaries of protected areas to address anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems, as well as identifying ecological corridors and new areas to be protected.
DOPA is being developed in collaboration with other major organisations including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), Birdlife International and the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
The Observatory minimises exposure to the risks from mixing undocumented data with undocumented uncertainties and connecting scientific findings from the field with environmental observations from space.
By connecting data in a careful and controlled manner, DOPA is already helping to answer qu
|Contact: Elena Gonzalez Verdesoto|
European Commission Joint Research Centre