MapBiomas Indonesia, the first initiative outside South America

Experts from the Asian country were trained by the Brazilian MapBiomas team to launch the land use mapping platform

Indonesia will now have its own land cover and land use mapping platform. MapBiomas Indonesia Collection 1 is the first initiative outside South America to use the methods of the MapBiomas collaborative network. The Indonesian analysts were trained by experts from Brazil. The result is the fruit of joint South-South work on classification algorithms with images captured by NASA Landsat satellites to detect changes in land cover during the period 2000 to 2019.

According to Timer Manurung, coordinator of MapBiomas Indonesia, the most important outcome is the collaborative effort and transparency that the platform offers. "Collaboration indicates the extent to which we can encourage complementary efforts, and transparency means that relevant decision-making by government and stakeholders, such as concessions, can be challenged by this kind of data," he comments. 

MapBiomas Indonesia includes 10 different land cover and land use classes - from mining and oil palm plantations to natural forest. According to Timer, "this is the first platform that simultaneously shows many land cover classes on the same platform and also shows land cover dynamics."  At the launch event, broadcast live from Indonesia on Wednesday (10), Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of MapBiomas, said that each MapBiomas initiative is at a different stage of development and emphasized that it is "a building process". "Every year we will have something new in each region". He concluded: "I welcome this exceptional moment that we are living with the launching of Collection 1 of MapBiomas Indonesia.

>> Access MapBiomas Indonesia

According to the results already presented, Indonesia has lost 12,885,851 million hectares of forest, and 60.4% of this area has been converted to agriculture. The data tells a story of natural forest loss, replaced by millions of hectares of agriculture, oil palm plantations, and pulpwood. Previous studies have already shown this, but the MapBiomas Indonesia data shows this transformation in more detail and also tracks the spread of urban and agricultural areas. "For the population, the platform will fulfill its role in a significant way by generating more transparency on land cover and land use. For the government, the platform will significantly help in better development planning," concludes Timer.