Dataset: Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD) 2004 (Not current release)


The Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD) 2004 provides both spatial and attribute information about government and privately funded protected areas (PAs) both continental and off-shore PA's. Data were contributed by State/Territory nature and conservation agencies and also increasingly through privately funded organisations. This is the 5th version of the database, with previous versions released in 1997,1999, 2000 and 2002. CAPAD provides a snapshot of reserves that are meeting the IUCN standard of a reserve as described by:

"A protected area is an area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means" (IUCN 1994).

The CAPAD spatial data is reported in the biennial publication "Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas In Australia", located on The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy and Water resources (DEW) website at

Two spatial datasets are available for download from the Discover Information Geographically (FED) website.

This version of the datasets is a combined version of the terrestrial and marine and external territories. Note, South Australia Heritage Agreement protected areas are included in the dataset.

Main attributes in the database include:

NAME: official (gazetted) name of a PA or unofficial name. Gazetted PAs with no name are flagged as "Unnamed".

TYPE: official gazetted designation of the PA.

REPT_AREA: area of PA as reported in the report "Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas of Australia". In most cases the area reported is the same as the GAZ_AREA. In some instances the reported area is made up of a gazettal area and also other areas that have not been included as part of the gazettal at the time of publication.

GAZ_AREA: area of PA described in the nomination document (eg. parliamentary gazettal), to the nearest hectare.

GIS_AREA: area of PA based on current spatial data. Where PA's are made up of multiple polygons (parts) the gis_area is the sum of all the polygons.

IUCN: the IUCN protected area category ascribed by the Managing authority, as outlined in the publication: CNPPA/WCMC "Guidelines for Protected Area management categories". Gland: IUCN, 1994. (ISBN: 2-8317-0201-1).

Definitions include:
IA Strict Nature Reserve: PA managed mainly for science;
IB Wilderness Area: PA managed mainly for wilderness protection;
II National Park: PA managed mainly for ecosystem protection;
III Natural Monument: PA managed mainly for conservation of specific natural features;
IV Habitat / Species Management Area: PA managed mainly for conservation through management intervention;
V Protected Landscape / Seascape: PA managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation;
VI Managed Resource Protected Area: PA managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems.

GAZ_DATE - original gazettal/ proclamation date.

LATEST_GAZ - Date of most recent gazetted amendment or verification.

Other attributes include: STATE, AUTHORITY (eg.DEH) and COMMENTS (ancillary information, such as data source)

ENVIRON: A PA gazetted as terrestrial may have a marine component and vice versa. A PA can be 'T' terrestrial, marine 'M' and both 'B'CC - Attribution (CC BY)
This data has been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. More information can be found at
The data is supplied to the Commonwealth for compilation by States and Territories of Australia and custodianship rests with the following agencies. A list of the agencies is available in the acknowledgements section of the metadata entry.

The CAPAD data is supplied to the Commonwealth for compilation over a 6 month time frame and many months may pass before it is published and thus is not up-to-date at the time of publication and release by the Commonwealth.

It is the responsibility of the person using the CAPAD dataset to always check the metadata for the currency date within each jurisdiction and if required seek advice from the individual agencies on details of more recent gazettals of protected areas.

Licence type changed to Creative Commons By Attribution on 9 June 2016
© Commonwealth of Australia (Department of the Environment and Energy) 2016

General Information