Carrying out a gap analysis
Various options exist for using data to identify gaps in protected areas networks.
How to do the analysis: there are three general options, depending on data quality and technical capacity:
- Without maps: a lot of information can be obtained just by listing all the biodiversity elements not adequately represented in a protected area network is itself very useful.
- With maps: more analysis is possible, including presence or absence from the protected area network and issues such as proximity, proportion of the population protected, and information about filling gaps.
- With maps plus software: systematic, algorithm based approaches to selecting new protected areas have developed rapidly in the last few years.
What to look for: two key issues are important:
- What type of gap exists? – i.e. whether gaps are complete (representation gaps) partial (ecological) or are gaps in objectives, governance types or effectiveness (management gaps). In management gaps, a protected area itself appears as a “gap” if it has not been implemented or well managed.
- What is the extent of the gap? – i.e. are whole new protected areas necessary, or would a corridor between existing protected areas or an extension of an existing park be sufficient to address the representation or ecological gap? These questions are central to prioritising what is needed most.
Available Resources For: Identify Gaps