The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has joined forces with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to create – an interactive, social media-based website that provides in-depth information on both the leading lights and hidden gems of the conservation world.

Using the latest satellite images, users can pinpoint individual protected areas – such as national parks or marine reserves – and zoom in for information on endangered species, native plant life or types of terrain.

Protected Planet also offers visitors the opportunity to upload photographs of their trips to protected areas, write travelogues of what they saw and experienced for Wikipedia and recommend places of interest nearby—information that can be shared through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

click here for the BBC coverage on . applies an innovative, ‘Web 2.0’ approach to conservation and will be a powerful tool to help monitor future biodiversity targets. With half a million photos already on the site, has the potential to supply vast amounts of biodiversity information to the global community and, most importantly, to prove that it has never been easier for one person to make a difference to conservation.