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We at ParksWatch believe that an in-depth understanding of the true conservation status of parks requires thorough on-the-ground research. Through these first-hand accounts, we are able to uncover information not readily available in other park databases that elucidates the nature and extent of external and internal threats to parks.

The data gathered from our on-site visits and background research are compiled in summarized reports called Park Profiles that synthesize the substantial amount of information that results from our park evaluations.

The centerpiece of each profile is a multi-disciplinary analysis, or diagnosis, of the state of the park based on an analysis of threats, local socioeconomic conditions, management needs, relationships with local, regional and national organizations, and other such crucial matters.

Using IUCN's definition of a protected area, "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," ParksWatch uses the following categories to assess the status of protected areas:

Critically threatened

The protected area is currently failing to protect and maintain biological diversity; or, there is an extremely high risk that the protected area will fail to protect and maintain biological diversity in the immediate future. Urgent solutions are needed.

Threatened

There is a very high risk that the protected area will fail to protect and maintain biological diversity in the near future. Remedial action is needed.

Vulnerable

There is a high risk that the protected area will fail to protect and maintain biological diversity in the medium-term future. Monitoring is needed.

Currently not threatened

The area has been evaluated and does not satisfy the criteria for any of the categories critically threatened, threatened, or vulnerable. There is no evidence that gives reason to believe that the protected area will fail to protect and maintain biological diversity in the near future.

Each diagnosis includes a set of recommended solutions to alleviate or remedy the park's most pressing needs, and the document is made available to all relevant stakeholders, including the park administrators and the various organizations involved in park management.

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