There has been a major urban shift of population in Turkey over the last century. Most people lived in rural areas until 1960, but now more than half live in urban areas. This trend has continued over the last 20 years, as families moved further away from city centres to find houses in the country, and this has caused land use to change rapidly. In decision-making studies to protect nature areas, rating and assessment of ecological data by scientific verification is difficult due to the huge volume and diversity of data. Therefore, the search for the most suitable and applicable method to achieve physical planning based on ecological understanding has been sought. The necessity for numerous parameters to be taken into account has stimulated the use of geographic information systems (GIS). This study assesses the usefulness of a GIS-based model in the protected area of Kaynaklar County, to the south of the city of Izmir. Existing cultural and natural land-use types, as well as soil, hydrologic, geologic and geomorphologic data layers (future classes) were gathered from field observation and using Landsat and IKONOS satellite images, and transferred to a database according to GIS rules. Index values were determined by taking impact on attributes of natural protection as a priority and these were attached to each feature class. Layers of data were merged by spatial intersection methods and new polygons were created for both cultural and natural features. A three-grade final map of the study area was generated using total index values of each new polygon.