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Decision making in forestry with spatial knowledge

Bambang Soepijanto
Director General of Forestry Planning, Ministry of Forestry
Like many other countries at the Asian region, forests and forestry are important business or issue. For Indonesia this issue has become essential, as forests in the country cover almost 70 percent of the total area. These forest areas are distributed across the archipelago. That covers about thirteen thousands islands, and these islands are situated in between the two continents of Asia and Australia. Therefore, knowledge and understanding about spatial is prerequisite for Indonesia in decision making.

Undoubtedly for the Ministry of Forestry, geospatial technology and application is an essential tool. It able to capture large area and it can be updated in timely manner. In fact, what we see as ‘point’, ‘line’, and ‘polygon’ contain rich information but the unique attribute we know very well is the ‘coordinate’ that simplifies complex world feature. Such approach is necessary for decision making that require information from the ground in order to regulate forest uses, at the same time also to conserve and protect the forests.

The application of geospatial technology at the Ministry of Forestry was initiated at the early 1990s, when the National Forest Inventory (NFI) was embarked. Forestry planning started to use Digital Image Analysis System or DIAS to understand spatial attributes; it uses GIS to perform spatial analysis, and to conduct Field Data System (FDS). In fact, lots of activities in forestry basically are based on geospatial, or geospatially-based. Ground survey or terrestrial inventory is one of core activities for forest resource monitoring. By conducting ground survey, data and information on forest potency could be attained, that will serve as the basis for forest owner to design the uses of available assets. The Ministry of Forestry has established 17 units of Forest Gazettment Offices at several provinces. These BPKH offices have duties among others to conduct inventory, to demarcate forest boundary, and to demarcate state forest from private forest.

Other thematics also been covered by geospatial application, including the thematic for degraded land, the thematic for conservation forest, and for production forest. The thematic for land allocation is particularly interesting for Indonesia. As happen in many places, land serves as the basis to develop the country.

Given that the majority of the land in Indonesia has been classified as forestlands; the Ministry of Forestry has allocated certain areas of forestland to be used for non-forestry sectors in order to develop the country. These include the development of settlements, agriculture, transportation and the energy sector.

The thematic approach in Indonesia has been expanded and that adds complexity to land use maps in this country. Each approach has a certain focus and interests that constraint communication between one thematic map and other thematic maps. A new approach is needed and that approach shall be agreed by various sectors that use land as the basis to develop the sector.

Indonesia is on the way to develop what is called as single reference or One Map Policy. With the support of custodianships, such a single reference of map could happen in near future. That custodianship means clarity on who is doing what for producing geospatial databases, there will be no redundancy anymore.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry is committed for such custodianship approach to support the development of National Spatial Data Network; so that it can realise Indonesia’s Geo-Spatial Data Infrastructure (INA-SDI) which will enable public to access geospatial data.

BAKOSURTANAL, or BIG (Badan Informasi Geospasial) as it is now known, has initiated the development of National Geo-Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). In this era of transparency, such infrastructure will facilitate and enable among sectors to share and to exchange geospatial data in public. The One Map Policy for Indonesia is significant in the context of national target to reduce Indonesia’s emissions by 26 (twenty six) percent by the year 2020 from BAU (Business As Usual).

The reduction is mainly targeted to come from areas that have been identified in the Indicative Map of Postponing New Permit, or Peta Indikatif Penundaan Izin Baru, popularly known as a ’Moratorium Map’. This map will be updated every six months and will be incorporated into the existing procedure in formulating forest planning. The Moratorium Map is a good example and exercise for the integration of geospatial data. The Map is intended to be shared and to be exchanged across sectors.