Updated every two years, the Collaborative Australian Protected Area Database (CAPAD) is a textual and spatial information product which provides a national perspective of biodiversity conservation.

The Department of the Environment uses CAPAD to regularly report on the status of protected areas. CAPAD is used as an indicator or measure of the extent to which Australia is meeting international conservation obligations, such as those in the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Since 2009, Australia’s federal, state and territory governments have all agreed to adopt international standards for the definition of protected areas, as established by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN categories are used as inputs to generate reports which monitor the growth of the protected areas estate and support the Department in making informed decisions relating to protected areas management.