The Georgia Conservation Lands Database is a statewide geodatabase that represents public land ownership and conservation lands, including voluntarily provided privately protected areas, for the state of Georgia. The lands included in the database are assigned conservation status codes that both denote the level of biodiversity preservation and indicate other natural, recreational, and cultural uses.
The term “conservation lands” is not synonymous with “public lands”, since not all public lands are conservation lands and some conservation lands are privately owned and managed. Not all conservation lands are accessible to the public for recreation.
While we maintain ongoing data exchanges with federal and state agencies and many local governments, we encourage local governments and private organizations to submit conservation lands information for our database. Contact us to submit information on managed areas.
Lands are classified by protection status. The characteristics used to determine protection status are:
- Permanence of protection from conversion of natural land cover to unnatural (human-induced barren, exotic-dominated, arrested succession).
- Relative amount of the tract managed for natural cover.
- Inclusiveness of the management (i.e., single feature or species versus all biota).
- Type of management and degree that it is mandated through legal and institutional arrangements.
The four status categories can generally be defined as follows (after Scott et al. 1993, Edwards et al. 1995, Crist et al. 1995):
- Status 1: An area having permanent protection from conversion of natural land cover and a mandated management plan in operation to maintain a natural state within which disturbance events (of natural type, frequency, and intensity) are allowed to proceed without interference or are mimicked through management.
- Status 2: An area having permanent protection from conversion of natural land cover and a mandated management plan in operation to maintain a primarily natural state, but which may receive use or management practices that degrade the quality of existing natural communities.
- Status 3: An area having permanent protection from conversion of natural land cover for the majority of the area, but subject to extractive uses of either a broad, low-intensity type or localized intense type. It also confers protection to federally listed endangered and threatened species throughout the area.
- Status 4: Lack of irrevocable easement or mandate to prevent conversion of natural habitat types to anthropogenic habitat types. Allows for intensive use throughout the tract. Also includes those tracts for which the existence of such restrictions or sufficient information to establish a higher status is unknown.