The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the most comprehensive global spatial dataset on marine and terrestrial protected areas available. The 2010 version of the data were published earlier this year.
Since 1981 UNEP-WCMC has ever since 1981 been compiling this information and making it available to the global community. This has been done through their Protected Areas Programme. The WDPA is a joint project of UNEP and IUCN, produced by UNEP-WCMC and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas working with governments and collaborating NGOs.
They describe their databases this way:
“The World Database on Protected Areas is a foundation dataset for conservation decision making. It contains crucial information from national governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, international biodiversity convention secretariats and many others. It is used for ecological gap analysis, environmental impact analysis and is increasingly used for private sector decision-making.”
For their 2010 publication they specifically note the following:
We are aware that some of the protected areas for Tanzania in this data set are not always 100% accurate. It is however the only data set providing updated continental level information on a regular basis. As such it is a good starting point for research. For management we would advice the user to contact the ministry (MNRT) for the most updated information.
The undersigned and colleagues are planing to publish a PDF map for free distribution based on this map quite soon. Stay tuned – and in the meantime visit WDPA: