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Conservation Planning Atlas serves as hub for regional conservation tools

As both a clearinghouse for data from LCC projects and a complement to other conservation resources, the North Atlantic LCC's online data portal has evolved to become a hub for regional conservation tools.
Conservation Planning Atlas serves as hub for regional conservation tools

Participants explore the Conservation Planning Atlas at a Regional Conservation Partnership workshop in Woodstock, Vt.

With an increasing focus on sharing data and information from conservation initiatives across the region, the LCC’s Conservation Planning Atlas is evolving into a powerful resource to help practitioners find the right tools for the job - whether it's protecting forests in Canada or shorebird habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.  

More than just serving as a clearinghouse for data from LCC projects - nearly 200 datasets and counting - the CPA provides a portal for practitioners to view and access data from other relevant efforts and geographies. At least 14 other LCCs in the national Network are also using this platform to share and aggregate resources for regional conservation.

By pulling in data from other organizations that use Data Basin, as well as from those that use entirely different platforms, the North Atlantic LCC's CPA makes it easier for conservationists to find information from reliable sources and get a sense of potential applications without ever having to open desktop GIS software.

“Data Basin is easy enough to use that I feel like I can play with the data on the site and make decisions about what I want, rather than getting frustrated and dumping everything onto my hard drive,” said Green Mountain Finger Lakes National Forest ecologist Diane Burbank during a workshop hosted by Highstead Foundation to introduce representatives from Regional Conservation Partnerships to the Conservation Planning Atlas.

Workshop attendee Andrew Teff, who consults for the Conservation Fund on mapping projects in northern New England, said although he would ultimately download any data he wanted to use into GIS, he finds it helpful to be able to browse in advance. “You can preview everything to get a sense of what might be useful.”

With regular involvement in projects in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, Teff said he is always on the lookout for regional data, and was excited to see how much is available on the CPA. “I wouldn’t have access to all of that from any other source,” he said.

The Two Countries, One Forest (2C1F) galleries are a prime example of the value of the CPA for sharing data. With the ability to seamlessly include datasets from the Northern Appalachian Acadian ecoregion, the CPA provides easy access to ecological data for a portion of Canada that is otherwise not well represented in North Atlantic LCC datasets. 2C1F also includes North Atlantic LCC data in their own CPA.

Another highlight is the galleries featuring data from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Although the partnership uses Landscope to host data, rather than Data Basin, the North Atlantic LCC can pull in data using Landscope’s published web mapping services without having to maintain or update them.

As a result of this inter-operability between sites and services, practitioners can access a broad range of datasets from multiple sources in one place. The idea is not to try to store everything - which is neither realistic, nor necessarily beneficial - but to curate a collection of datasets that represent regional conservation priorities and the best science available to achieve them.

Explore the growing collection of data and tools within the North Atlantic Conservation Planning Atlas.

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