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Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space

From a recent and dramatic image showing development at the edge of New Zealand’s Mount Egmont National Park to the weaving, interconnected waterways of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh to the stunningly unique beauty of the Namib desert in Namibia, Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space, captures a new perspective on some of the world’s most interesting, changing, and threatened places.

NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, writes in the Foreword, “I—as a former astronaut who has looked upon our beautiful planet from space—hope that we can advance the use of space-based remote sensing and other geospatial tools to study, understand, and improve the management of the world’s parks and protected areas as well as the precious biodiversity that thrives within their borders.” Sanctuary advances readers one more step towards that vision.

Uniting satellite imagery with nature photography, conservation stories, and quotes from some of today’s leading park executives and conservationists, the book illuminates the contributions of remote sensing towards addressing the many of the themes of the World Parks Congress. These themes include reaching conservation goals, responding to climate change, improving health and well-being, supporting human life, reconciling development challenges, enhancing diversity and quality of governance, respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture, and inspiring a new generation.

Published to commemorate the IUCN World Parks Congress—an event that takes place only every 10 years— the book is a celebration of global conservation efforts. Author Nancy Colleton, president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and deputy chair of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, states, “As much as this book is intended showcase space-based satellite imagery and its role in conservation, we also wanted to tell the down-to-Earth stories of what’s happening in these areas.”

One such story is the growing trend of connecting areas to protect migrating species such as the pronghorn, which migrates the longest distance of any terrestrial animal in the United States—more than 350 miles.

Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the U.S. National Park Service states in the book “For the first time in my nearly 40 years of work in the National Park Service, the four U.S. land management agencies are working together, applying the newest geospatial technologies to identify and protect critical corridors of connectivity between protected areas.”

Another story describes the work of the Amazon Conservation Team, which collaborates with indigenous communities to create maps of their territories and in another area develops protective measures to help preserve the rights of isolated tribes.

Published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies with support from NASA, Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space is available to be downloaded at Imagery and content from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DigitalGlobe Corporation, European Space Agency, IUCN, the Amazon Conservation Team, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, The Wild Team, Rare, the American Prairie Reserve and other entities is featured.

Download Sanctuary PDF Here