Protected Areas Database of the United States, PAD-US (CBI Edition) V2

Dec 19, 2012 (Last modified Feb 6, 2013)
Protected Areas Database of the United States, PAD-US (CBI Edition) V2 Thumbnail

Explore related items…

Focusing on protected areas of the US

Protected areas are the cornerstone around which regional, national and international conservation strategies area developed. Through protected area designations, land and water are set aside in-perpetuity to preserve functioning natural ecosystems, act as refuges for species, provide public access to recreation and the preservation of natural historic sites. 

The Conservation Biology Institute has been managing a protected area database of the United States since 1999, PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2 is the most current release of these data.  The database has been redesigned in this last iteration to be used along with the National Conservation Easement Database (NCED), to visualize the entire terrestrial conservation estate of the United States.  The PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2 has been refined to better reflect only fee simple lands.  It portrays the nation's protected areas with a standardized spatial geometry and valuable attribution on land ownership, management designations and conservation status (using GAP and IUCN coding).  

These data area intended to provide a critical inventory of protected lands available to a range of audiences from the general public to the land managers about the status land and water protection in the United States.

The Primary Features of PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version2:

  1. CBI aggregates all available, spatially explicit information on protected areas in the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2  includes updates to  thirteen state (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, MT, ND, OR, SD, TN and WA), all TNC fee lands, and all Wilderness Areas across the nation.
  2. CBI supports free downloads of PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2 in multiple formats. Users can download the full database as a ESRI geodatabase or shapefile at ( Individual state extractions can be visualized and downloaded from the Data Basin platform.
  3. CBI maintains high standards regarding consistent and comprehensive attribution of protected area attributes, such as ownership, management responsibilities, designations, and conservation intent. For example, secondary and tertiary designations  are included to represent protected lands with multiple management categories.  This allows for precise representation of complex conservation patterns (e.g., a Wilderness Areas within a National Forest).
  4. CBI retains and publishes all information from our source data regarding the agencies that own and manage each protected area, along with local designations and local names.  CBI also includes generalized and  standardized fields to facilitates easy searches of common protected area designations and ownerships across political boundaries. The PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2, provides dataset organization and search tips.
  5. CBI publishes one "flat file" of U.S. Protected Areas by carefully correcting the minor overlaps and gaps that result from the aggregation of multiple datasets.  These errors are reconciled with permission from the source.  Error correction is guided by set standards outlined in our Standards and Procedures document.  Where possible, we also attempt to identify and correct major topology corrections in collaboration with the original source of the data.
For more information or to download the full PAD-US (CBI Edition) Version 2 database visit our PAD-US (CBI Edition) project page.
Kai Henifin. 2012. Protected Areas Database of the United States, PAD-US (CBI Edition) V2. In: Data Basin. [First published in Data Basin on Dec 19, 2012; Last Modified on Feb 6, 2013; Retrieved on Jun 16, 2024] <>

About the Author

Kai Henifin
Climate and Fire Resilience Coordinator with Pepperwood

I am a Project Manager and Senior GIS Specialist with more than a decade of experience working with diverse stakeholder groups to co-produce high quality science information that is accessible to a wide range of people, both technical and non-technical. I have an expertise in developing, managing...