Transboundary Conservation Foundation

Transboundary Conservation Foundation

Who is Transboundary Consulting Africa?

Transboundary Consulting Africa aims to use its knowledge of Ecosystem Services, through GIS and 3D modelling skills, to assist in eliminating the conflict between development and conservation and to offer these skills to projects in and around the trans frontier areas of Africa.

It is our vision to assist Africa in realizing the value of its natural resources to benefit its people, whilst at the same time protecting the value of the Ecosystem Services to the people of this continent.

Developing a Conservation Atlas for Transboundary Areas

The number of designated protected areas around the world has increased from 13.4-million km2 in 1990 to 32 million km2 in 2014. These protected area systems play an important role in storing global terrestrial carbon stock, protecting habitats and species, and supporting millions of peoples’ livelihoods.

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) stores useful information on the world’s protected areas. It is a joint project between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas. The data is used to track progress towards international biodiversity and development targets, to identify new priority areas for protection, and to flag sensitive conservation areas.

The Challenge

Transboundary Conservation Areas (TBCA) are ecologically protected areas that cross the boundaries of more than one country. During the initial stages of TBCA planning, the planners often do not have access to appropriate geographical maps.

Questions were raised about the possibility of developing a Global Conservation Atlas with selected data that would allow focus on identified conservation areas in the World Database on Protected Areas. The atlas could then be used as a functional conservation planning tool during the initial phases of TBCA development.

The Transboundary Conservation Foundation set about testing the usefulness of such a Global Conservation Atlas. This was accomplished via a conservation grant from Esri and through the co-operation of the UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).


At the core of the Global Conservation Atlas is the use of bookmarks of any of the selected polygons or conservation areas in the WDPA as a zooming tool to illustrate all of the selected datasets in the database, in and surrounding the identified conservation area. Central to the development of the atlas was the use of a web-based GIS technology accessible via Esri and its Living Atlas of the World. 

(The Living Atlas of the World is available through ArcGIS Online and provides easy access to ready-to-use geographic information. This collection is accessible from any device and is constantly growing and changing as maps, apps, and layers are added or updated by Esri and the ArcGIS user community.)


Currently 16 separate layers in the Global Conservation Atlas are ready for review. The collated information can also be used for identification of the vulnerability of a TBCA and to implement the Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group’s diagnostic tool for transboundary conservation planners. A number of Story Maps have been drafted and placed on a Facebook Group page. The Transboundary Conservation Foundation has invited members of the Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group to review the process, draft Story Maps and submit comments. The distribution to conservation partners has been facilitated by free licensing from Esri.

To learn more about the Transboundary Conservation Foundation visit


The Challenge

– Testing of a Global Conservation Atlas as a functional internet conservation planning tool for Transboundary Conservation Areas.

The Solution

– Web Based GIS
– Living Atlas of the World
– Map Viewer
– Scene Viewer
– Story Maps


– Facilitates wider use of the Global Conservation Atlas by conservationists