Protected areas are internationally recognised as major tools in conserving species and ecosystems. Up to date information on protected areas is essential to enable a wide range of conservation and development activities.
Since 1981 UNEP-WCMC, through its Protected Areas Programme, has been compiling this information and making it available to the global community. The WDPA is a joint project of UNEP and IUCN, produced by UNEP-WCMC and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas working with governments and collaborating NGOs.
The World Database on Protected Areas is a foundation dataset for conservation decision making. It contains crucial information from national governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, international biodiversity convention secretariats and many others. It is used for ecological gap analysis, environmental impact analysis and is increasingly used for private sector decision-making.
By registering as a User, you will be able to FREELY download the protected areas selected by using the advanced search tool on the WDPA website. These protected area downloads will be provided in GIS (shapefile) and KML formats.
Currently, downloads using the Search Tools are limited to a country level so if you require a global or multi-country dataset please use the 2009 WDPA Annual Release.
Below is an outline of the stages involved when downloading data using the World Database on Protected Areas Search Tools:
STAGE 1- Register as a WDPA User and Login (It's FREE !)
STAGE 2- Search for the Protected Areas you require, or that meet chosen criteria with our advanced search
STAGE 3- Once you have your results from the search you may then, after agreeing to our terms and conditions, download the data
STAGE 4- Your chosen downloads from these searches will be available under the Download tab whenever you login