Brussels, Belgium: The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) has been developed by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). It aims to bring together multidisciplinary data allowing researchers and decision-makers the means to assess, monitor and forecast protected areas (on biodiversity basis) globally.
With DOPA, data on species distribution, and other socio-economic indicators are combined with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) remote sensing information in order to generate global environmental maps, alerts and indicators. Its modelling capability and its ability to stretch beyond the boundaries of protected areas allow a greater understanding of the pressures on the ecosystem, identification of ecological corridors and potential new areas needing protection. The databases are accessible by open web services that allow decision-makers and researchers to prioritize issues, and support fund allocation decisions.
DOPA is already answering questions raised in Nagoya, home for the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity conference in October 2010. Now, it is also helping to identify if protected areas are really protected, whether they are in the right place, where new protected areas should be located, and whether they are connected.
DOPA is also helping to answer whether funding is targeted in the right place, whether the new areas can cope with climate change, and whether they can be created without generating conflict.
Biodiversity loss is a growing concern.