Date of Award



Anthony D'Amato

Document Type



This shapefile (.shp) is a hybrid of the March 2017 Edition of the Vermont Center for Geographic Information's (VCGI) Vermont Protected Lands Database (VPLD), the Vermont Land Trust's February 2019 Protected Lands database, and The Nature Conservancy's Secured Areas (SA 2018+) database. The VLT and SA 2018+ datasets were used as the scaffolding for the hybrid protected lands layer, with some VCGI VPLD polygons retained if they contained unique contributions. These datasets were combined by C.D. Loeb because each input dataset was missing some protected lands polygons in the state of Vermont. Additionally, the VCGI VPLD dataset contained many overlapping polygons, making it unusable for the area calculations of interest to our study on the overlap between formally protected lands and Vermont Conservation Design landscape-level targets (see publication reference).

This hybrid protected lands layer creates a more complete snapshot of Vermont’s protected lands for our study’s purposes than any other known, publicly available dataset as of February 2019, and also corrects for all improperly overlapping polygons. However, we know that this hybrid product still does not capture all of Vermont's protected lands. Specifically, some Upper Valley Land Trust-protected parcels are missing from this hybrid protected lands layer, and there are probably other protected parcels that could not be captured by the input datasets. Thus, our hybrid product will likely underrepresent actual protections.

This layer was created to intersect with Vermont Conservation Design targets for input into the software Tableau. Its purpose was to perform cross tabulations to compare Vermont Conservation Design targets with protected lands in Vermont to-date, and to calculate acreages of protected lands that are also design targets by primary protecting agency. All parcel attributes and delineations in the hybrid output are only as good as the parent datasets. In areas where parcels were digitized differently between parent datasets, “slivers” may have been generated by merging them. Our study objectives originally included an analysis of the GAP Status of protected lands in Vermont (reflected in this layer's metadata); however, some serious errors were detected in parent datasets with regards to GAP Status, so GAP Status was discarded as an analysis object. Please note author-identified GAP Status issues if using this dataset.

Please see the shapefile's metadata for detailed creation steps. The user implies knowledge of the limitations of this dataset. This dataset should not be used to ascertain boundaries or legal acreages for any parcels.

Note: This version of the hybrid protected lands layer does not have county boundaries embedded in it nor waterbodies excluded from it, since it was created to capture all formally protected lands in the state of Vermont to the best of the authors’ abilities. Prior to use in our analysis, this layer was modified to exclude waterbodies and to introduce county boundaries. To obtain the same hybrid protected lands layer with county boundaries embedded in it and waterbodies excluded from it, please contact C. D. Loeb at


The dataset (available under Additional Files below) is contained in a shapefile created in ESRI Arc GIS Pro version 2.2. The shapefile should be usable with any GIS platform than can process the .shp file type.