Overview & FAQs


What is biodiversity?
What is the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles?
How can I use the interactive maps?
What are protected areas?
How were data collected for the maps and species models?
How should I cite maps or species models?
How should I cite data layers?


What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity describes the variety of life in a given region. It can refer to diversity of ecosystems, genetic diversity within a species, or, in the most common sense of the word, diversity of species.




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What is the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles?

The purpose of this project is to showcase the unique biodiversity of the Los Angeles area. In addition to environmental information (e.g. climate, geology, land cover), the Atlas features distribution models of sensitive (e.g. endangered or threatened), iconic, and invasive species in LA. Distribution models show how suitable an area is for the species in question, depending on what the habitat is like. 




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Interactive Maps

The interactive maps in this Atlas contain what we call raster data, which means that each pixel in the map contains information for that specific area. Click on pixels for more information, toggle layers, or type in a local address (e.g. for your home, favorite park, school, etc.) to see what the environment is like there, or if it is suitable habitat for a certain species.




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Protected Areas

Many maps in the Atlas feature California Protected Areas, which include wildlife refuges, Land Trust preserves, national forests, and national, state, county, and neighborhood parks and other open space. This layer can be toggled on and off so that changes taking place within and outside of these areas can be observed. More information about the California Protected Areas Database, which is maintained by GreenInfo Network, can be found at www.calands.org




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Data Collection

The data sources for each map and species model in the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles are listed under “Data sources” on the map’s web page. To learn more about how these maps were created, please visit the Methods page.




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How to Cite Maps and Species Models

If using or sharing maps/species distribution layers from the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles, please reference this website and the original data sources (where applicable) using the following citation formats (replace <DATA SOURCE> with the text provided under “Data sources” on the map’s web page):

Map courtesy of the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles. Accessed <DATE> [biodiversityla.org]. <DATA SOURCE>.

Species distribution model courtesy of the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles.
Accessed <DATE> [biodiversityla.org]. <DATA SOURCE>.




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How to Cite Data Layers

To cite Environment, People, Diversity, or Conservation layers accessed through the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles, please reference this website and the original data sources using the following citation format (replace <DATA SOURCE> with the text provided under “Data sources:” on the map’s web page):

<DATA SOURCE>. Accessed via the Biodiversity Atlas of Los Angeles on <DATE> [biodiversityla.org].




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