Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from marine, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biodiversity includes the variety of species and ecosystems (Convention on Biological Diversity). Because of its significance for ecosystem functions and its intrinsic value biodiversity needs to be protected.
There are several databases available providing information on protected areas and biodiversity hotspots. However, a single database might not be enough to reflect the biodiversity situation in a country accurately. Especially meta databases, which compile data from several countries, sometimes have shortcomings. These meta databases depend on reporting from national agencies or inter-regional agencies (e.g. the European Environment Agency). Due to the complex reporting structure and occurring delays, the data of one country is sometimes not up-to-date or even misrepresented in the meta database. That‘s why GRAS acquires data of protected areas directly from the responsible national government agencies. Furthermore, a national databases might not cover all aspects of biodiversity. For this reason, GRAS also integrates global databases from renowned international organizations, NGOs or research institutes to complement the information about protected areas with information about primary forests, biodiverse areas or other areas relevant for biodiversity conservation (e.g. Important Bird Areas).
The biodiversity layers in the maps of the Countries show protected areas and biodiverse areas and are compiled from global, inter-regional (European Union), national and sub-national databases. GRAS researched and compiled the best available data sources for each country. The integration of complementary data sources ensures that a complete picture of biodiversity is painted.
The research for eligible databases is a continuous process. In a consequence, GRAS’ data sources are updated or extended dynamically in order to supply the user with the best available data sources. Feedback from users and external stakeholders is integrated. All biodiversity databases used in GRAS are selected according to specific criteria regarding content, data source, data quality, data format and availability of data.
Please learn more about the assessment and selection process of biodiversity databases in Methodology.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) supported GRAS with the assessment and compilation of biodiversity databases relevant for Brazil. TNC identified global, national and sub-national datasets and overlayed them in order to cover and display all areas relevant for biodiversity conservation. The following datasets were used (please see the more detailed descriptions of the databases in Data per country):
|Intact Forest Landscapes||Intact Forest Landscapes show unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems within forests without signs of significant human activity and at least 50,000 hectares in size (Potapov et al. 2008).|
|National System of Units of Conservation (SNUC)||The National System of Units of Conservation - Sistema Nacional de Unidades de Conservação da Natureza (SNUC) comprises nationally designated protected areas which are called units of conservation. The federal units of conservation are divided into two large groups according to their strictness of protection: Full protection and sustainable use.|
|PROBIO||In a process based on systematic conservation planning principles the Brazilian Ministry of Environment identified important areas for biodiversity conservation for each biome in Brazil. These areas are not legally protected such as National Parks, but they are observed when a license for an enterprise is requested, especially if the type of activity is identified as potentially high hazard to the environment.|
News and events
Honduras now available in the GRAS Tool
Honduras is now available in GRAS. The dataset includes layers on Land Use Change, Biodiversity, Carbon Stock and Social Data. GRAS will add more countries in Central America and other world regions soon.
March 13th 2018
We cordially invite you to join the free webinar on how to “Implement and Monitor Deforestation-Free Supply Chains” with GRAS, taking place on 13 March 2018, 10:00 am (CET) and 5:00 pm (CET). The webinar will give you an insight on new functionalities of GRAS, outline recent case studies and give the attendants the chance to ask their questions. Register for the webinar here.
March 2nd 2018
Addressing the sustainability of sugarcane
In the recent issue of Biofuels International, GRAS is presented as a secure and credible solution provider for companies to prove compliance with national and international sustainability regulations and corporate commitments. The article shows how GRAS can be used to identify deforestation and grassland conversion and determine the exact point in time the land use change took place. The full article can be found here.
February 27th 2018
Sub-national data on Acute Food Insecurity now online for the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Food Security Classification data of FEWS NET (Famine Early Warning Systems Network) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now available in GRAS. The dataset includes near and medium term projections, and is updated on a monthly basis.
February 21st 2018
Colombia, South Africa and Peru now available in the GRAS Tool
GRAS added Colombia, South Africa and Peru to the Web Tool. The datasets include layers on Land Use Change, Biodiversity, Carbon Stock and Social Data. More countries will follow soon.
January 31st 2018
GHG values for canola cultivation in Australia and Canada now online
GHG emission values for canola cultivation in Australia and Canada, officially acknowledged by the European Commission, are now available in GRAS. The values have been published in the Commission Implementing Decisions (EU) 2017/2356 and (EU) 2017/2379, respectively.
January 29th 2018
GRAS Fire Alert online now
The new GRAS Fire Alert function is now available for Indonesia and countries in South America. Beside the visualization of latest and historical fires within the tool, the user can now register for an e-mail alert. The user will be informed based on daily updates, in case a fire was identified within an area individually defined by himself.
January 11th 2018
GRAS article in ITC News
GRAS wrote an article in ITC News (2017-2), the alumni magazine of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente. The article presents how GRAS provides solutions for a fact-based, objective and credible sustainability reporting and the support of efficient and reliable sustainability certification. The magazine contains results of an interdisciplinary workshop in Enschede, Netherlands.
January 10th 2018
How does GRAS work?
Get to know GRAS better and learn what it can do for you and your business.