Welcome to DOPA Explorer, the Joint Research Centre’s web based information system on the world's protected areas, which helps the European Commission and other users to assess the state of and the pressure on protected areas at multiple scales.

Using global reference datasets, the DOPA supports monitoring and reporting through a broad range of consistent and comparable indicators at country, ecoregion and protected area level. These indicators are particularly relevant for Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (Protected Areas) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 (Life below Water) and 15 (Life on Land).


DOPA Explorer 2.0 provides simple means to explore and compare protected areas, with regard to their species and ecosystems, and the pressures they are exposed to through human development. DOPA Explorer 2.0 is a web-based assessment tool where information on nearly 24,000 protected areas (all protected areas ≥ 50 km2, covering more than 95% of the global protected surface) has been processed automatically to generate a set of indicators on ecosystems, climate, species and pressures.

Version: 2.0

Release: 15 February 2018

Protected Areas: Unless indicated otherwise (see figure captions), the boundaries of the protected areas used here are coming from UNEP-WCMC and IUCN (2017), Protected Planet: The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) [On-line], [October/2017] , Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC and IUCN.  Available at: Protected Planet®, underpinned by the WDPA, is a joint product of UN Environment and IUCN, managed by UNEP-WCMC and IUCN working with governments, communities and collaborating partners.

Terms of use: DOPA Explorer 2.0 cannot be used for commercial purposes

Requirements: DOPA Explorer 2.0 is optimized for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Citation: Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (year), The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) Explorer 2.0 [On-line], [insert month/year of the version accessed], Ispra, Italy. Available at:

Funding: The development and maintenance of the DOPA are supported mainly by the institutional activities of the Directorate for Sustainable Resources at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission as well as by the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union.

Feedback: Any communication with respect to the use of the DOPA Explorer should be sent to

AcknowledgementsWe acknowledge the essential contribution of all data providers and, in particular, the scientific support provided by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the International Union for Conservation of Nature,  and BirdLife International. We are also grateful to our ex-colleague Javier Martinez-Lopez for his kind support in processing the habitat segments of the protected areas.


You will find here some succinct information about the indicators proposed in the DOPA Explorer 2.0 as well as references to the underlying datasets used to generate these indicators.
More details about the methods and codes used to generate the information proposed can be found in our Wiki and additional supporting material (papers, reports, datasets and maps) can be found on the DOPA homepage
To keep up to date with our latest developments, we invite you to follow us on our Twitter account: @EU_DOPA