A GIS Method for Conservation
Basil G. Savitsky and Thomas E. Lacher Jr.
THE first objective of this chapter is to document the protected areas data used in the Costa Rica gap analysis. The second objective is to categorize the output from the gap analysis model in the context of the Habitat Conservation Decision Cube. The third objective is to interpret the gap analysis results and the utility of the Habitat Conservation Decision Cube in the Costa Rica project.
Gap analysis requires a map layer of the existing protected areas in order to assess the gaps in the conservation network. The boundary data on national parks and other protected areas in Costa Rica was provided by the Paseo Pantera project (see chapter 11). The Paseo Pantera database includes protected area boundaries for the seven Central American countries south of Mexico (Carr, Lambert, and Zwick 1994). The data pertaining to Costa Rica were extracted from this database. The original source data were provided to Paseo Pantera staff by the National Parks Service of Costa Rica in the form of 1:200,000 map sheets indicating the boundaries of existing and proposed national parks, forest reserves, anthropological or tribal reserves, and private reserves. These data were digitized and stored in ARC/INFO format. Potential habitat linkage areas between parks were added by the Paseo Pantera staff but were utilized only nominally in this project.
A map of the protected areas is shown in figure 15.1 with the national parks indicated in black and the other protected areas indicated in gray. Although there