The Natural Heritage Program maintains GIS data on most of the conservation land within North Carolina. These “Managed Areas” are a diverse collection of properties and easements that are managed in some degree for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem function.
However, also included are a number of properties and easements that are not primarily managed for conservation, but that are of conservation interest. This conservation interest ranges from properties and easements which support rare species and intact, high-quality natural communities to those that are simply open spaces in places where open space is scarce.
This collection of conservation areas will inform a variety of users – from the general public to professional land managers – when making decisions about conservation, land management, land use planning, and recreation.
Protected Areas Database of the United States
The Natural Heritage Program serves as the state steward for the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) and provides data on North Carolina’s protected lands to the U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program (USGS GAP).
PAD-US is a national geodatabase that represents public land ownership and conservation lands, including privately owned areas, for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Pacific and US Virgin Islands.
State stewards assist GAP by refining PAD-US standards, assigning conservation measures (GAP Status Codes and/or IUCN Categories), and offering valuable local review of protected area information. PAD-US State Data Stewards are the best available source of aggregated state, local government and private protected areas data in their state and provide regular geodatabase updates to support PAD-US.