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Geography & Environmental Studies: Recommended Websites

Recommended Websites

Gateway Sites:

Academic Info - Geography: Indexes & General Directories

EnviroLink. A database of thousands of environmental resources from around the world.

People and Planet. Canada's gateway to environment, sustainability and conservation.

Environmental Data & Statistics:


Canadian Environmental  Sustainability Indicators (CESI). - Provides data and information on key environmental sustainability issues including climate change and air quality, water quality and availability, and protecting nature.

Canadian Soil Information Service. - The national archive for soil and land resource information in Canada. Spatial datasets provide information on ecological groupings, soil properties and distribution.

Environment Canada Climate Data. - Includes current and historical data, climate summaries, links to many related resources such as the Canadian Wind Energy Atlas, Canadian Ice Service, mapping and modelling sites, etc.

Energy Statistics Handbook. Statistics Canada. - Provides current monthly, and historical annual energy data covering the last 12 years. A  comprehensive source of detailed information showing the availability, production and use of energy in Canada.

Human Activity and the Environment. Statistics Canada. - An annual publication that focuses on a current environmental issue. The latest information and statistics are gathered from many sources to produce an in-depth analytical article.

National Forestry Database. By the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. - The Canadian Forest Service (CFS) at Natural Resources Canada, which developed and maintains the database, has responsibility for disseminating national forestry statistics. Most of the data are provided by the provincial or territorial resource management organizations.

Statistics Canada - The website can be searched by keyword, or browsed by subject: Enivronment, Energy, etc, or use the annual publication: Environment Accounts and Statistics Product Catalogue.


Climate Change Knowledge Portal by the World Bank Group. - Has information, data, and reports about climate change around the world.

Commission for Environmental Cooperation. - Has Information on environmental issues in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

European Environment Agency Environmental Indicators.

FAOSTAT.  By the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. - Provides food and agriculture statistics from around the world.

Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Reports UNEP, and Environmental Data Explorer. The Environmental Data Explorer is the authoritative source for data sets used by UNEP and its partners in the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report and other integrated environment assessments. Its online database holds more than 500 different variables, as national, subregional, regional and global statistics or as geospatial data sets (maps), covering themes like Freshwater, Population, Forests, Emissions, Climate, Disasters, Health and GDP. Data can be displayed as maps, graphs, data tables or downloaded in different formats.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the UN and World Meteorological Organization. Their main activity is to provide regular reports on the state of knowledge of climate change.

International Energy Agency (IEA). - This organization of 29 member countries publishes energy statistics and provides some online, e.g. on renewables, energy balances, etc.

National Climatic Data Center. - NCDC is the world’s largest provider of weather and climate data. Land-based, marine, model, radar, weather balloon, satellite, and paleoclimatic are just a few of the types of datasets available for the U.S. and worldwide.

OECD Environment Statistics - internationally comparable environment-related statistics from OECD member countries.

PANGAEA. - Earth and environmental science datasets from around the world

UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. - The biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme,   WCMC collates, verifies, analyzes and interprets data on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The site provides conservation statistics by country or region.

UNEP Yearbook. - Annual reviews of emerging environmental issues and policy-relevant developments in the global environment, based on key environmental indicators.

UNSD Environmental Indicators - global environment statistics on ten indicator themes including air & climate, biodiversity, energy & minerals, forests, governance, land & agriculture, inland water, marine & coastal areas, natural disasters, and waste. Compiled by the UN Statistical Division.

U.S. DOE Data Explorer. - Has numerous energy-related data collections from the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

World Meteorological Organization - An IGO with close to 200 member countries, the site links to weather-related sites and databases.

World Resources Institute Maps & Data. - WRI produces maps, charts, data sets, infographics, and other visual resources, including several important tools and databases:  Global Forest Watch, Climate Watch, Resource Watch, Forest Atlases, LandMark, Aqueduct, PREPData, and Environmental Democracy Index.

Environmental Law:

Climate Change Laws of the World and Climate Change Litigation of the World. By Grantham Research Institute and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School. Databases of national-level climate and climate change legislation and policies from around the world, and litigation cases from 25 countries.

Compendium of Canada's Engagements in International Environmental Agreements. By Environment & Climate Change Canada. 2017, 7th edition. Provides brief summaries of Canada's commitments in international environmental agreements and instruments.

ECOLEX: The Gateway to Environmental Law. By the FAO, IUCN and UNEP. - A database combining the resources of all three organizations; has information on, and links to treaties, international soft-law and other non-binding policy and technical guidance documents, national legislation, judicial decisions, and law and policy literature.

Nature Databases (Information on Plants & Animals):

Biodiversity Heritage Library. This open access collection of digitized works from many natural history and botanical libraries includes information on over 150 million species. 

BirdLife International Data Zone.  This site by a global partnership of conservation organizations has the "State of the World's Birds" report and a database of data collected from around the world searchable by region, country, habitat and threat type, legal actions and conventions, bird types, important bird areas, and more.

Birds of North America Online. By Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologist's Union. Provides life histories of each of the over 700 species of birds that breed in the U.S. and Canada.

COSEWIC Wildlife Species. A searchable database of species assessments and status reports from the Committee on the Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Links to the Species at Risk Public Registry (SARA).

Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS). Hosted by the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group, this database
presents validated and verified inventories of introduced and invasive species at the country level. Searchable by country, kingdom, species, and  environment/system.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. By the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the Species Survival Commission. - Has information about and assessments of the conservation status of around 70,000 of the world’s plants and animals.

Marine Species Identification Portal. Provides scientific information on thousands of marine species including identification keys. Compiled by a global network of collaborating taxonomists initially with UNESCO support.

Native Plant Database. By NPIN. - This database contains information on over 8,000 native plants in North America. Searchable by scientific or common name, plant family, province or state, and many other plant characteristics.

NatureServe Explorer. Provides conservation status, taxonomy, distribution, and life history information for more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities and systems in the United States and Canada.

PLANTS Database. By the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. - Provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

Calculators & Tools:

Ecological Footprints. By the Urban Environmental Management Program, Global Development Research Center. - Includes Global Progress Indicator, Water Footprint, Carbon Counter, Energy Footprint, Food Miles, etc.

Maps & Geospatial Data:


Atlas of Canada. 

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Online Maps of Current Interest and Other Topical Maps 

UN Atlas of the Oceans

USGS Maps, Imagery and Publications. - Links to topographical maps, aerial photography and more.

WorldAltas. By Graphic Maps. - Free maps of the world, countries, cities, bodies of water, outline maps, map tests and more.

Google Maps and Satellite Images.

See also the Government Information Subject Guide

Historical Map Collections:

The Chignecto Isthmus: Its History and Culture. - This database provides access to historical material held by the Ralph Pickard Bell Bell Library, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB.on the people and places of the Isthmus of Chignecto.

Old Maps Online. - A searchable collection of digital maps from around the world.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Historical Map Web Sites:

USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection.

See also the Government Information Subject Guide

Environmental Organizations (Selected Key Organizations that Publish Research):


Canadian Environmental Law Association.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

David Suzuki Foundation.

East Coast Environmental Law.


Environmental  Defence Canada

Pembina Institute.

West Coast Environmental Law.

World Wildlife Fund. - Canada's largest international conservation organization.

(See also Environmental Data & Statistics above.)



Center for Sustainable Economy. - An environmental economics think tank working to speed the transition to a sustainable society.

Greenpeace International.

International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). - An international nonprofit environmental organization since 1970. Its lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists work to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment.

Sierra Club.

Worldwatch Institute. Publishes two key annual reports: "State of the World" on progress toward a sustainable world (at HC 59 .S73 in Book Stacks) and "Vital Signs", on the trends shaping the future (available at HC 10 .V53, latest in Ref.)

(See also International Environmental Data & Statistics sources above.)

Environmental News Sites:

Clean Energy Review - weekly digest of important climate and clean energy developments


Environment News Service

Environmental News Network - An interactive resource, highlighting the latest environmental news, events and stories from across Canada.

The Guardian - Environment

IISD Reporting Services - provides daily coverage of international environment and sustainable development negotiations.

InsideClimate News - non-profit staffed by professional journalists

See also the list of News databases in the A-Z Databases list.

Evaluation Tools:

DeSmog Climate Disinformation Research Database - An extensive database of organizations involved in the global warming denial industry. Lists organizations, think tanks, industry associations, astroturf groups and individuals who are misleading the public and stalling action on global warming. Entries include background information, documented quotes and actions, funding sources and more.

SourceWatch - By the Center for Media and Democracy. SourceWatch profiles the activities of front groups, PR spinners, industry-friendly experts, industry-funded organizations, and think tanks trying to manipulate public opinion on behalf of corporations or government.




International Development:

Directory of Development Organizations.


International Development Research Centre.

International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Official Information on Countries. Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development  Canada. - Has brief country factsheets, information on Canada’s development projects and bilateral relations with the country.

World Development Indicators. By the World Bank.

World Bank Open Data. - The Data Catalog shows all of the World Bank databases available here; includes World Development Indicators and Report, Millennium Development Goals, Climate Change Data, and much more.


Ocean Conservancy - A charitable organization working to protect the oceans and marine life since 1972.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution- The worlds largest, private, non-profit oceanographic research facility studying all aspects of the ocean.

Urban & Rural Planning:

American Planning Association Podcasts. - Podcasts on famous urban planners, and a "Green Community" series.

City Mayors. By the City Mayors Foundation. - The Foundation is an international think tank dedicated to urban affairs. The site reports news from towns and cities around the world, ranks cities and profiles the best mayors.

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability. -An international association of local governments, representing more than 1,200 cities and towns in over 65 counties worldwide that are dedicated to developing innovative approaches to sustainable development.

Metropolis Project. - An international network for comparative research and public policy development on migration, diversity, and immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world. Links to centres in Ontario, Quebec, B.C., the Prairie and Atlantic provinces.

Urban Environmental Management : The WWW Virtual Library. Global Development Research Center.