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What's protected, what's not?
Date:4/21/2009

Getting a picture of the status of conservation efforts in the United States has just been made easier thanks to a just-released database that allows wildlife and conservation professionals to visit a single place to find comprehensive information on protected areas.

Several federal, state, and non-government agencies combined resources and data about public landholdings to create the Protected Areas Database United States (PAD-US).

PAD-US, released in April 2009, is a national inventory of protected lands. In addition to providing comprehensive information about public lands in the United States, this geodatabase includes information that allows it to be incorporated into the United Nations' World Protected Areas Database (WDPA), thereby aiding a new perspective on conservation efforts worldwide.

PAD-US was prepared in collaboration with the PAD-US Partnership, a public-private planning consortium comprised of federal, state, and non-governmental organizations interested in the inventory and management of protected lands.

"This effort, which was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program (GAP) and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, seeks to provide the guidance and resources necessary to maintain protected lands data with greater accuracy and detail than previously possible," said John Mosesso, a USGS scientist involved with the project.

The first version of PAD-US contains information concerning more than 22,000 highly protected areas in the United States. The total acreage of these protected areas is more than 347.7 million acres, or 15 percent of the country's total land area (including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii). All sites meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) definition of protected and are permanently managed to maintain biodiversity.

"Both the PAD-US Partnership and the IUCN consider these lands essential for conserving species and habitats as
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Contact: John Mosesso
jmosesso@usgs.gov
703-648-4079
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

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