Safeguarding 2 million hectares of threatened, carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia is a massive undertaking with global implications. To help protect and restore these ecosystems, our award-winning spatial mapping platform supports much-needed planning and monitoring efforts on the ground.

In 2015, one of Indonesia’s worst forest fires destroyed 1.7 million hectares of land, half of which were carbon-rich peatlands.

To restore this ecosystem, Indonesia established the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) with the goal to rehabilitate 2 million hectares of peatland. 

Catalyze was appointed by WRI Indonesia to develop the Peatland Restoration Information and Management System (PRIMS)

For the first time, the agency’s previously disparate data sets on hydrological units, peat canal locations, mangroves, fire hotspots, tree cover loss – and dozens more – were combined into one map-based interface, affording BRG staff unprecedented (and fully customisable) views of their operational theatre. PRIMS was the natural continuation of our ongoing work for Pantau Gambut, building on our familiarity with this type of ecosystem. 

The initial brief was broad and the timeframe fairly generous, giving us the privilege of extensive consultations with PRIMS BRG staff and WRI Indonesia. By navigating the technical and reporting priorities of each group, we translated these into technical requirements that formed the initial blueprint of PRIMS.

From there, the team developed a proof of concept – the alpha version of the website with a map but also filterable data visualisations on peat restoration, hotspots, land use, and other metrics. Having an incomplete but functional initial website helped our client to sharpen their expectations, allowing us to refine the specifications even further for the next iteration in development.

Aside from a work tool, PRIMS is also a way for the agency to be transparent about the state of peatlands – and by extension the success of restoration efforts – to anyone with an interest in those ecosystems.

A data dashboard features visualisations on real-time hotspot statistics, fire propensity across 7 priority provinces, along with other geophysical properties relevant to peatlands, that reveal progress with restoration efforts.

Because we want our clients to have as much autonomy as possible when managing our platforms, the PRIMS content management system was built to easily scale up and out. In practice, this means that BRG (now BRGM as the agency’s mandate was recently expanded to include mangroves) can add data sets for different types of ecosystems such as mangroves, but also new layers to be superimposed on existing ones.

With a far more granular and integrated view of Indonesia’s peatlands, through PRIMS the BRGM has a state-of-the-art platform which sets a benchmark for other government agencies and ministries working on regenerating threatened ecosystems. 

Years after the platform was built, it continues to form the digital backbone of BRGM's geospatial work. In 2023, BRGM was bestowed the top prize for the Bhumandala Awards, which recognise the application of geospatial platforms and mapping for development purposes in Indonesia. 

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