Surfing the world's nature reserves

A new website offers up a virtual tour of protected areas both above and below the waves
10 November 2010


At the click of a mouse, the Protected Planet website lets you hop from Yellowstone National Park, to the Seregenteti, to Annapurna, and thousands of beautiful and biodiverse corners on the globe in other little known protected areas, both on land and in the sea.

I've been having a play with it, and it's a bit like Google Earth meets Trip Advisor, pimped for protected areas.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

The interactive site brings together all sorts of information from databases like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and 

the World Database on Protected Areas, and mixes that together with perhaps more familiar stuff from Wikipedia and Flickr. People who have been to these protected areas can upload photos, write travel tips, and recommend interesting spots to visit.

Each entry gives a flavour of what the protected area looks like and what you might find if you went there, as well as information about how big it is, when it was set up and so on.

It's aimed both at wannabe eco-tourists who are can experience the world through their computer screens, as well as explorers searching for their next destination - the idea is to raise awareness about some of the lesser-known protected spots that could potentially benefit from well-managed tourism, bringing in more visitors and more tourist dollars.

And it's also being touted as a serious conservation tool, for governments, scientists, and NGOs who can download the latest information about protected areas - they even recon that visitors can play an important research role by logging on and reporting which species they've seen in different places

Typing in the word "marine" brings up with 1 146 results, including enticing looking spots like the Ulunikoro Marine Reserve in Fiji, the Nguna Pele Marine reserve in Vanuatu, and the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area in Canada, which we talked about a few months ago on Naked Oceans.

Check it out. It'll definitely get you dreaming of far away places.

Find out more

Protected Planet

Protect Planet Ocean


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