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The selection of parks to be evaluated is based on several criteria including biodiversity, presence of endemic and/or endangered species, size, and severity of threats. ParksWatch also produces evaluations in response to requests made by stakeholders such as government agencies or NGOs.

Our goal is to revisit priority parks on a four-year basis to update our data and gauge changes in conservation status. The time required for each park audit varies depending on factors such as size and accessibility, but the background information and on-site data collection phases are typically completed in less than a month.

Park evaluations begin by gathering extensive background information from all relevant sources, including existing databases, governmental agencies, conservation organizations, newspaper reports, and other published literature. Once this preparatory research is completed, the comprehensive, on-site inspection of the park begins.

ParksWatch staff gather photographic and video documentation and conduct in-depth interviews with park directors and rangers, scientists, tourists, NGO workers, and local inhabitants living inside or near the protected area.

The on-site data collection follows a standardized questionnaire, in which data are organized in several categories (including budget, management, conservation projects and reference materials), with the majority of the data pertaining to the types and degree of threats. Both direct threats (e.g., poaching, logging, and oil exploration), and indirect threats (e.g. inadequate budget or staffing, conflictive management policies) to park viability are assessed. Completed questionnaires are incorporated into our database, and are subject to analyses aimed at serving the needs of the academic and conservation communities as well as the political arena.

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