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Release: 11 Teams from Around the World Advance in the Indonesian Peat Mapping Prize

Indonesian Peat Prize, a competition to find a more accurate, affordable and timely way of mapping the extent and thickness of Indonesian peatlands, was launched on February 2, 2016 by Indonesia’s Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) as host and supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for better peatland management and to fight against global climate change.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (June 22, 2016) – Eleven teams have been selected to advance to the second round of the Indonesian Peat Prize, out of a field of 44 teams from 10 countries that submitted applications. Teams from Indonesia, United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Malaysia, and Singapore are competing for a prize purse of $1 million to find more accurate, affordable and timely ways to map Indonesia’s peatlands. The teams include research institutes, universities, government agencies, private sector and consultants, paired with Indonesian partners as required by the prize.

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the prize convened on May 25-26 in Jakarta to review the 44 applications and has selected 11 teams to move forward to the yearlong Solution Development phase.

“We are excited to announce that 11 qualified entrant teams will move forward to develop the most accurate, timely and affordable method to map Indonesian peatlands,” said Dr. Priyadi Kardono, Head of Indonesia’s Geospatial Information Agency (BIG). “We hope that the outcome method of this prize can improve the current Indonesian National Standard (SNI) for mapping peatland, which eventually will lead to an efficient and effective peatland management throughout the country. More importantly, we hope that by involving global expertise in producing a mapping method, there will be an improved quality of the peatland data in Indonesia.”

Globally, peatlands cover an area of 400 million hectares, which is equivalent to 3 percent of the earth’s land area. These ecosystems play an outsized role in climate stabilization, however, storing one-third of global soil carbon. Indonesia specifically is home to the largest tropical peatlands in the world and its peatlands are a unique environment due to their high density carbon. Indonesia’s peatlands are estimated to hold 22,5-43,5 gigatonnes of carbon, which is equivalent to the emissions of 17-33 billion passenger vehicles for one year.

However, peatlands in the country have been increasingly disturbed due to land use change - as peatlands are converted for plantations and agriculture, or cleared by fires - which has caused rapid loss of carbon to the atmosphere and contributed to global climate change. Based on the data of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) Review of the National Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (RAN-GRK) document, carbon emissions from peat decomposition and peat fires account for 42 percent of Indonesia’s total emissions. As of 2015, Indonesia is the sixth largest emitter in the world.

To reduce its emissions, Indonesia has been focusing on more sustainable peatland management, and the first step to address the challenge is to quickly and accurately map peatlands.

“For Indonesia, the Peat Prize will encourage the production of high quality peatland maps which will lead to a more sustainable peatland management and utilization, including determining where fires take place and which areas should be conserved or utilized. For the world, the Peat Prize opens the opportunity not only for scientists to come to an agreed method to map peatlands but also to meet the global challenge to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius,” said Dr. Nirarta Samadhi, Director of WRI Indonesia.

“What I find most exciting is the fact that we received enthusiastic and well-informed submissions that not only propose high-technology solutions, but also bring the degree of insight to the unique environment of peatlands in Indonesia. The prize implies a symbolic challenge and opens the door for larger communities around the world to collaborate on a solution to map peatlands in and outside Indonesia,” said Dr. David Schimel, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory who also serves as the prize’s co-chair.

“Peatland is an asset in our ecosystem that can be used and conserved,” said Prof. Dr. Supiandi Sabiham, the Peat Prize’s SAB co-chair who is also the Indonesian Peat Association Head. “By inviting collaboration of individuals to develop a scientifically proven method to map peatlands, we can manage peatlands more efficiently and effectively — including to mitigate climate change and to conduct rehabilitation activities.”

The Indonesian Peat Prize team will guide and support the entrant teams as they develop and refine their solutions. The Solution Development phase will culminate in a workshop in June 2017 in Jakarta, where finalists will be selected and announced.

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Note to editor:

The following are the 11 teams who move forward to the Solution Development phase:

  1. Bell Geospace and PT Rubotori Petrotech Indonesia
  2. Duke University and PT Greencap NAA Indonesia
  3. Deltares and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)
  4. DRYAS, a team of independent Indonesian researchers
  5. Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and the University of Sydney
  6. Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH (RSS), Agency of the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and Sriwijaya University
  7. UGM (Gadjah Mada University) Indonesian Peat Mapping Team
  8. Applied GeoSolutions and National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN)
  9. PT EXSA Internasional/Forest Inform Pty Ltd
  10. Stanford University and Tanjungpura University
  11. NARIC Forest Research Institute

About Information Geospatial Agency (BIG) Originally established in 1969 as the Coordinating Agency for Surveys and Mapping and renamed as Badan Informasi Geospasial (BIG) in 2011, BIG is an Indonesian government agency charged with managing geospatial information in Indonesia. It leads integral efforts such as the One Map Initiative, an ongoing effort to create one unified map of the country's geospatial information. The two central goals of BIG are to be a hub of all Indonesian geospatial data, including integration, synchronization and cooperation, and to lead Indonesia in new, optimal ways to use this information for the good of all Indonesians.

About World Resources Institute Indonesia (WRI Indonesia) WRI Indonesia is a leading independent research organization that is dedicated to contributing to the socioeconomic development of Indonesia in an equitable and sustainable way. Our experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We work on five critical issues that present opportunities for sustainable growth in Indonesia: Forests, climate, energy, cities and transport, and governance. We are affiliated with the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, United States and more (


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