8500 sites, 79 countries, 6.5m square kilometers
The 79 countries of the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) region are home to much of the world's richest and most unique biodiversity. Protected areas, of which there are over 8500 in the ACP countries, are a key conservation tool, yet there are still fundamental gaps in our knowledge about them. The BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) programme aims to address this problem, by establishing Regional Observatories for Protected Areas and Biodiversity and building capacity to improve decision-making related to protected area management. The Reference Information System hosted at this website aims to bring together the best available science and knowledge and make it easily accessible, at regional, country and site level, supporting policy making on the inter-linked themes of biodiversity, conservation and development.
A Reference Information System
The BIOPAMA Reference Information System (RIS) uses the internet to gather information from different authoritative sources. A lot of this information is geospatial (maps and other data with a geographic reference), complemented with information on training, best practice, funding, literature and expertise.
Typical information included in the RIS includes :
· Protected Areas boundaries (source: UNEP-WCMC World Database on Protected Areas)
· Species and Red List data (source: IUCN)
· Landcover data (source: JRC, various)
· Important Bird Areas (source: Birdlife International)
· Extractive industries and resource exploitation (source: various)
· Population, infrastructure and settlements data (source: various)
· Climate and meteorological data (source: JRC)
· Soil data (source: JRC)
· Satellite imagery (source: various)
· Training and capacity building opportunities
The African Protected Areas Assessment Tool (APAAT) was a one-off analysis of over 700 sites, combining land cover, species and population data to produce a series of indicators and comparisons of Protected Areas in terms of their biodiversity value, habitat status and pressure from human activities. Since the tool was developed, technological advances have allowed us to perform more sophisticated analyses, to easily change parameters and datasets, and to use authoritative information held by third parties via web services. This has led to the development of a global platform, the Digital Observatory of Protected Areas (DOPA). The BIOPAMA RIS uses the services provided by DOPA at global level in combination with ad-hoc regional, national and site level data to provide a more complete picture of the situation in Protected Areas across the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions.
About the technology...
BIOPAMA RIS is firmly based on the use of open source software and the internet. The front-end is developed using Drupal, one of the leading content management frameworks. The back-end datastore is PostgreSQL with the PostGIS extension for geographic data. The data catalogue is powered by GeoNode, and online mapping is provided by GeoServer and MapServer. Wherever possible, we avoid hard-coded content and database queries, preferring to integrate information via standard web services.