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
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 2017
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 2017
GRAS Fire Tool
The new fire tool will be available soon in the GRAS Tool. Fires can be identified easily within your area of interest and for the time period you are interested in. The data will be available for Indonesia and updated on a daily basis. Other countries will follow soon.
September 21st 2017
New countries available soon
New countries will be added to the GRAS Tool soon. Data on Land Use Change, Biodiversity, Carbon Stock and Social Data will be available for USA, Australia and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
September 21st 2017
GRAS is mentioned in an article of the recent issue of Biofuels International. The article presents how GRAS is used by the well-established certification scheme for support of its Integrity Program. The full article can be found here.
March 15th 2017
GRAS at the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh
Marrakesh, November 12th 2016.
How business can tackle deforestation
GRAS is co-sponsoring the conference "How business can tackle deforestation", which will take place in Washington DC on April 3rd-4th 2017. The conference will provide practical guidance for the development and implementation of zero deforestation policies for business. More information can be found here.
Washington DC, April 3rd-4th 2017
Geo-Information for Palm Oil
GRAS has co-organized the workshop "Geo-information for palm oil" at the Insitut of Computer Science of the University of Osnabrück. The workshop discussed the use of SAR remote sensing data in the palm oil research. More information can be found here.
Osnabrück, February 8th 2017
Copernicus Master 2016
GRAS for sustainable palm oil production
GRAS and its strategic role for supporting sustainable palm oil production are presented in the article "Sustainability as a Success Factor for Palm Oil Producers Supplying the European Vegetable Markets" in the issue Vol. 16(1) 2016 of the Peer Reviewed Journal Oil Palm Industry Economic Journal (OPIEJ).
GRAS for sustainable biofuels
GRAS has presented on the fifth annual seminar of "Sustainability of Biofuels" of the German Association for Bioenergy (BBE) and the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).
Berlin, November 17th 2016.
GRAS as easy tool for identification of land use change
GRAS is mentioned in an article in Biofuels International discussing the successful implementation of EU policy in the sustainability certification of biofuels for the EU market. In particular, in the article is described how auditors and companies can access GRAS to detect land use change, verify the protection of no-go areas and implement no-deforestation commitments.
GRAS at EEB's Action for Nature Conference in Brussels
GRAS has given a presentation on "The Use of Satellite Imagery and Remote Sensing" at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Conference Action for Nature to be held in Brussels. The presentation will be part of the session "Better Enforcement of EU Environmental Laws".
Brussels, September 14th 2016.
Advantages of GRAS in the cosmetics and detergents sector
GRAS is presented in the article "Deforestation-free and traceable supply chains for the production of sustainable surfactants" in the July/August issue of the International Peer Reviewed Journal Household and Personal Care Today.
GRAS at EEB Annual Conference 2016 in Vienna
Vienna, September 26th 2016.
How companies can implement and monitor their no-deforestation commitments
GRAS is presented in an article of eco-business as a possible solution for companies to implement and monitor their zero-deforestation commitments. The GRAS Tool provides comprehensive sustainability-related information on biodiversity, carbon stock, land use change and social indices.
GRAS as a tool to guarantee sustainable bioenergy
GRAS is presented in an article in the EU Bioenergy blog discussing the verification and monitoring of sustainable biomass production. The GRAS Tool is described as one of the solutions to guarantee that biomass is produced sustainably and that biodiveristy and carbon stock areas are protected.
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