A cleaner conservation layer – with critical habitats!

Posted on September 10th, 2010 in General,New Content by Alta
As we started to populate the African conservation landscape, we quickly realized that that clutter on the map would be a problem. You’ll remember back in February that this was resolved by “hiding” projects, blogs and points at a lower “altitude” in Google Earth, which simply meant that you had to zoom in to see this content.
Switching over to “live” layer meant that we lost the ability to“ hide content at different altitudes for a little while, but you’ll see that the much cleaner look for the layer has returned now, along with points and blogs.  You’ll only see countries and protected areas when you open the layer – but just zoom in a little bit and you’ll see projects, points, and blogs pop up again.
Finding Projects, Blogs and Points:
Here are a few tips to find projects, points and blogs on the layer
1. Use the side panel
2. Look in the “projects” tab of “protected areas” and “countries”
3. Zoom right in with “click to see more”
For more on how to use the layer, have a look at the MAPA Introductory video:

As we populated the Google Earth Conservation layer with more and more content, we quickly realized that the map was becoming too cluttered. You’ll remember back in February that this was resolved by “hiding” projects, blogs and points at a lower “altitude” in Google Earth, which simply meant that you had to zoom in to see this content.

Switching over to a “live” layer meant that we lost the ability to “ hide”content at different altitudes for a little while, but you’ll see that the much cleaner look for the layer has returned now, along with points and blogs.  Thus, when you open the layer and are zoomed far out,  you’ll only see countries and protected areas, but just zoom in a little closer and you’ll see projects, points, and blogs pop up.

out

LITTLE

zoomedout

If you’re looking for specific protected areas or projects – remember that you can also find these by expanding the categories in your “my places” panel. You can also fly to project bubbles from the “project” tabs of protected area and country bubbles, as shown in the example below.

findingstuff

For more on how to use the layer, have a look at the MAPA Introductory video:

Biodiversity hotspots, Endemic Bird Areas and CARPE landscapes added to the layer
Biodiversity is not equally distributed on earth: there are areas that are of special significance because they contain a particular rich diversity of species, or is home to species that occur only in limited areas. Several organizations have identified such areas – and very often they don’t fall within the boundaries of protected areas.
There are different types of these ‘critical habitats’ – ranging from the “sites” defined as important bird areas, key biodiversity areas and ramsar sites, to landscapes spanning large landscapes, even across several countries.
As of today, you can find three “categories” of these areas on the MAPA layer: Biodiversity hotspots, Endemic Bird Areas and CARPE landscapes.
Here is a bit more information on the three new additions:
Biodiversity hotspots: There are eight of these areas, identified by Conservation International in Africa.. A biodiversity is an area of exceptional levels of plant endemism and serious levels of habitat loss.  To qualify as a hotspot, a region must contain at least 1500 species of vascular plants as endemics and it has to have lost at least 70% of that original habitat.
Have a look at this video from Conservation International that explains how biodiversity hotspots are chosen – and why they’re important.
CARPE Landscapes:  The Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is a long-term initiative by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to address the issues of deforestation and biodiversity loss in the Congo Basin forest zone through efficient natural resource management in 12 landscapes in six Central African countries. These landscapes are defined as priority areas for conservation based on the species that they represent, the overall integrity of the landscape, and the resilience of ecological processes within it.
We hope that you enjoy the changes to the layer, and the new content. Please let us know your thoughts!

Biodiversity hotspots, Endemic Bird Areas and CARPE landscapes added to the layer

In addition to the cleaner layer, we’re also bringing you a whole new category of information on the layer today, collectively called “critical habitats”.

Species are not equally distributed on earth: there are areas that are of special significance because they contain a particular rich diversity of species, or species that have limited ranges and/or are severely threatened.  Several organizations have identified such areas (often outside official protected areas) using the best science on offer. There are different types of these ‘critical habitats’ – ranging from the “sites” defined as important bird areas, key biodiversity areas and ramsar sites, to much larger areas spanning landscapes across several countries.

We have now added the first three of these  “categories” to the layer: Biodiversity hotspots, Endemic Bird Areas and CARPE landscapes.  Read about these areas, the species that make them unique, and the measures taken to protect them. Want to know more? Simply visit the official fact sheets by clicking on the links in the bubbles.

CARPE

We hope that you enjoy the changes to the layer, and the new content. Please let us know your thoughts! In the mean time, have a look at this video from Conservation International that explains how Biodiversity hotspots are chosen and why they’re important.

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