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The Protected Areas of Africa were provided by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) - World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) of Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, to UNEP/GRID-Geneva for digitization into computer form in 1986. The map was digitized in ARC/INFO and subsequently rasterized to a two-minute cell size in the ELAS software format. Today, the same data set resides at GRID on an IBM mainframe computer, but it has not been updated since the initial work was carried out.*
The Protected Areas of Africa data set shows a series of 11 different types of parks, reserves and other unique areas which had some degree of protected status. The various types of Protected Areas are all shown as squares of varying size on a background map of Africa, with four square sizes which are proportional to the actual size of each area, and with center points approximately equal to the actual central location of each Protected Area. Thus, this data set is perhaps most useful for showing the general distribution of African Protected Areas by type, circa 1986.
There are two versions of the Protected Areas of Africa data set (two data files) at UNEP/GRID-Geneva. Because there is significant overlap between the Protected Area squares, the first shows the various squares superimposed with the size of Protected Areas used as the criterion for which take precedence over others. The second version shows Protected Areas ranked by importance; that is, squares take precedence according to the order in which they appear in the legend, with the more highly ranked Protected Areas overlaying others of lower rank. Following is the legend which applies to the Protected Areas of Africa (categories were formulated by IUCN-WCMC):
Values Category of Protected Area ------ --------------------------
1 Scientific Reserve 2 National Park 3 National Monument 4 Wildlife Sanctuary 5 Protected Landscape 6 Resource Reserve 7 Anthropological Reserve 8 Multiple Use Management Area 9 Biosphere Reserve 10 World Heritage Site 11 Unclassified
The Protected Areas data set from IUCN-WCMC covers the entire African continent at a spatial resolution of two minutes (120 seconds) of latitude/longitude, or approximately 3.7 kilometers. The data file consists of 2191 rows (lines/records) by 2161 columns (elements/pixels/ samples). Its upper-left or northwest corner origin is 38 degrees, 0 minutes and 45 seconds North latitude (38d 00' 45" N), and -20 degrees, 1 minute and 15 seconds West longitude (-20d 01' 15" W); and it extends to -35 degrees, 1 minute and 15 seconds South latitude (-35d 01' 15" S), and 52 degrees, 0 minutes and 45 seconds East longitude (52d 00' 45" E) at its terminal point in the lower-right or southeast corner. The data file comprises 4.74 Megabytes.
The source of the Protected Area data is, as mentioned above, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN's) World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) in Cambridge, UK. There is no published reference for this data set.
* - Another more recent version of Protected Areas for Africa, with actual protected area boundaries, exists at UNEP/GRID-Nairobi.
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