Department of Environmental Studies
The protection of water quality, scenic areas, renewable natural resources, recreational opportunities and the preservation of genetic and biological diversity, all depend on the conservation of open space and the protection of natural areas. Concern over the loss of remaining natural areas and decline in biological diversity has created a critical need for spatial data on the location and areal extent of protected areas. Due to the environmental importance of protected areas and the growth of New Hampshire's protected land base the State has begun utilizing computer based geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map protected land. The Office of State Planning has been coordinating the development of a protected land data layer for NH GRANIT, the State's GIS. The thoughtful use of GIS protected land data, combined with other natural resource data sets, can provide decision makers with a valuable tool for planning and designing reserve systems. GIS application can play a central role in conservation planning in New Hampshire, by helping prioritize and target future acquisitions, locating areas of critical need, and helping to plan potential corridor areas for the linking of established protected areas into a comprehensive state reserve system.