Registry Goes International

Leopard resting on a fallen tree near Samburu, Kenya. Photo by Dean Swartz.

Conservation Registry users have been adding international projects lately. Maybe you’ve seen these new projects popping up in South America, Indonesia, Europe and even Kenya—so many, in fact, that staff started to wonder how the Registry could be adapted to better support international work.

As you may know, the Conservation Registry went live in 2008 as a pilot project in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. At the time, we added map overlays, species lists and conservation plans for all fifty U.S. states, just in case people in other states wanted to use the Registry. But almost as soon as the first project popped up in Hawaii, folks started adding projects in Canada too.

We welcomed Canadian and Mexican projects, but we knew that the Registry wasn’t set up to serve conservation activities in those countries. For instance, the Registry wasn’t designed to look for Canadian provinces or Mexican states, and the only currency the Registry captures is the U.S. dollar. Project detail pages from those projects show empty spaces for county and watersheds, and still show spaces for regions that don’t exist in other nations, such as Congressional districts and USFWS regions.

Yet despite the U.S.-centric focus, the Registry now contains over 150 Canadian and Mexican on-the-ground conservation projects.


A cluster of Wildlife Habitat Council partner sites in Mexico. These projects focus on creating habitat for Monarch butterflies, educational programs, sea turtle protection and reclamation.


To help our North American partners, we discussed what it would take to adapt the Registry to load Canadian and Mexican map overlays so that project detail pages would record the country and province of origin. But then we realized that it wasn’t just our immediate neighbors anymore—Registry users were adding projects in countries all over the world.


A single project with multiple sites around the world, this Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program Database project tracks taxonomic relationships between varieties of Krascheninnikovia, a type of amaranth found in North America and Eurasia.


Many international projects were entered by portal owner, Wildlife Habitat Council. WHC works with corporations and other landowners to create voluntary wildlife habitat enhancement and conservation education programs on corporate facilities and in the communities where they operate, and indeed, they have projects all over the world. In the last two months they’ve added nearly twenty new international projects to the Registry in areas as diverse as Luxembourg, Scotland, Russia, Brazil, and Africa.


In far-flung Papua New Guinea, Wildlife Habitat Council partners work to restore habitat and encourage stewardship in the local community in one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich areas.


So Registry staff asked Margaret O’Gorman, president of the Wildlife Habitat Council why they chose to add their international projects to a site designed for U.S. projects:

“Being able to add our international projects to the Conservation Registry allows us to better collaborate, to work on the landscape level and deliver appropriate conservation across borders and even continents,” said Ms. O’Gorman. “For the first time, WHC project managers in every country can see the conservation context in which their efforts exist. Having all of our certified programs on one portal allows us to manage our data more efficiently and promote the great work of our members through one convenient tool.””

Should the Registry change in order to track these new project locations?

Here are some suggestions for updates from Wildlife Habitat Council staffer Corinne Lackner Stephens:

  • Show international and specific-country regions clickable as a map layer.
  • Add International Union for Conservation of Nature and United Nations data as map layers.
  • Project detail pages should show country of project origin, watershed information where available, and name of closest city.
  • Suppress the word “undefined” and/or the U.S.-specific fields that are blank (like Congressional district and bird region) on international projects.
  • In Advanced Search, add country as a searchable field.
  • On the main Conservation Registry page add a search box to make it easy to search for projects by country.
  • On portals with international projects, list the countries and create quick searches that take users directly to those projects.
  • On the main Browse by Map page, show the map zoomed out to the entire world instead of just North America.

You can help
So let’s talk about the international expansion of the Conservation Registry. What map layers would you like to see? How should we address different kinds of currency when reporting on financial support? Should we convert to U.S. dollars or leave the funds in the original currency? How important is it to track financial data at all? What government administrative level is most important to map? Country? State? County? Do we want to attempt to add all endangered species in the world to the species picklist?

Contact your helpful Registry staff, Kassandra Kelly at or Peregrine Edison-Lahm at, to discuss international expansion!

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NCED Presentation and Video Links


November 14, 2013—NCED steering committee members presented an hour-long webinar about the National Conservation Easement Database. Topics included a brief history and tool overview, examples of how the database is being used in conservation planning, information about data completion, and future funding needs.

The webinar was presented by Mary Bruce Alford from the Trust for Public Land, Tosha Comendant from the Conservation Biology Institute, and Robb Macleod from Ducks Unlimited. Almost 70 people attended the webinar. For those of you who could not be there, the presentation and question and answer period at the end were recorded as a YouTube video. The PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded from the Conservation Registry, or from the Conservation Biology Institute web site.

NCED contains information about 101,203 conservation easements across the U.S., including easement types, size, locations, and easement holders. Reporting features include maps and break out data for each state. Approximately 10,000 new easements were added to the database in September 2013. View the National Conservation Easement Database here.


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NCED Webinar November 14

Do you want to learn more about NCED, the National Conservation Easement Database? Maybe you’ve always intended to click over to the portal and check it out for yourself. Here’s your chance to learn from the experts how you can use this amazing tool in your conservation planning. Not to mention the gee-whiz factor of seeing over 100,000 conservation easements across the United States. You know you want to.

National Conservation Easement Database (NCED): A Vital Information and Planning Resource webinar is scheduled for November 14th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am PST. Space is limited so reserve now.

Planning tools to address current and future land conservation are increasingly available, but the National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is the first and only resource providing an up-to-date picture of land in the U.S. under conservation easement. This public-private partnership brings together national conservation groups, local and regional land trusts, and state and federal agencies around a common objective. Mary Bruce Alford, from the Trust for Public Land, will introduce NCED, discuss how the database is being used and what others can do to improve upon the work already completed.

Title:    National Conservation Easement Database (NCED): A Vital Information and Planning Resource
Date:    Thursday, November 14, 2013
Time:    10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PST

Click here to reserve your place.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

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Measuring Habitat and Biodiversity Outcomes

Defenders of Wildlife, the U.S Geological Survey,  NatureServe, the Willamette Partnership and other agencies and organizations have been working together for several years to develop a more consistent approach to measuring fish and wildlife habitat and biodiversity outcomes in a manner that would be applicable across different programs, jurisdictional boundaries, spatial and temporal scales.  Several approaches have emerged, and are summarized in a Registry project located here and on the Marketplace for Nature portal page. The project includes meeting notes, documents and presentations which can be downloaded from the project detail page.

  1. The framework developed in the report called Measuring Up focuses on measuring habitat and species values on individual sites (size depends on specific habitat and landscape).   This framework allows managers to conduct a rapid assessment based on researching spatial data sets, other information, and some fieldwork.  Scores can be converted to “credits” bought and sold within a mitigation, or market context.  Habitat or biodiversity  outcomes could also be purchased by private or government entities in incentive-based or other voluntary programs. This framework was developed under contract with the Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets (now Office of Environmental Markets) and involved a number of agencies and organizations.
  2. The Ecological Integrity Assessment was developed by NatureServe, and applies a coarse filter, fine filter approach that is used to identify the highest priority areas for conservation. It can also be used to characterize the condition of individual sites or areas when more detailed information is available or collected.  The assessments can measure ecological improvements or declines.
  3. The Biodiversity Service Index was developed by a work group hosted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. Its purpose is to inform deliberations concerning the role of biodiversity in ecosystem service programs conducted by federal agencies.

The sponsors of this project plan to convene additional workshops to refine and synthesize the aforementioned frameworks to offer some guidance to public and private organizations working together to conserve native habitat and species. read the background materials located on the project detail page here.

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100,000 Conservation Easements Published


Osprey with spotted sea trout lunch, Anna Maria Island, Florida. Credit: Mike Weimer ?USFWS.

The latest version of the National Conservation Easement Database is now available at for download. Since the second version released in June 2012, we’ve added more than one million acres to the database. In addition, the NCED partnership has been working to improve both the accuracy of the database as well as the usability of the website. We have received numerous comments through our website feedback and have worked with our data providers across the country to respond to many suggestions. As a result, we have updated and more accurately reflected the location of conservation easements throughout the United States. Given the number of improvements and corrections, we highly recommend replacing any past versions of the database with this latest version.


For specific information on updates and changes:

  • Check out our maps that show how complete the NCED database is estimated to be by state.
  • View a list of easement holders that have been added or updated.
  • View our new Conservation Easements Resources page.

Email updates
If you wish to receive notifications of updates and other important notices or send comments regarding the National Conservation Easement Database, Please register at the conservation easement portal page:


One of the new metrics available onn the updated NCED portal, this map shows the completeness of total easements held by non-governmental agencies.


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