18 June 2020

Empowering the crowd to restore Indonesia’s forests

Options Summer 2020: IIASA teamed up with Indonesian partners under the RESTORE+ project to establish a national platform for data collection campaigns through the Urundata crowdsourcing platform, thus allowing Indonesians to be more involved in efforts to restore forests and landscapes in the country.

© Fabio Lamanna | Dreamstime

© Fabio Lamanna | Dreamstime

For the tropical archipelago of Indonesia, which is home to some of the world’s largest tropical forests, combining forest and landscape restoration with economic development that still heavily relies on agricultural expansion, poses a unique challenge. Addressing these issues requires vast amounts of
high-quality data and analyses, as well as collective action to implement them. Systems analysis can pr ovide an inclusive response by crowdsourcing the data required and thus empower the public to participate in identifying forest and landscape restoration potential.

To help model the impact of different restoration scenarios, IIASA teamed up with Indonesian partners under the RESTORE+ project to establish a national platform for participatory data collection campaigns in Indonesia. Urundata (in English, donate data) is a tailor-made crowdsourcing platform that allows communities to get involved in efforts to restore forests and landscapes through mobile applications and contribute to scientific assessments supporting policymaking efforts.

“The platform aims to make the collection of massive amounts of data possible and more efficient. By using their mobile phones, people can engage in data-generating activities in a number of campaigns related to landscape restoration potential. As different campaigns require different approaches, Urundata provides several mini-apps to crowdsource the needed data. People can choose what kind of topics they are interested in and provide information
accordingly,” explains Ping Yowargana, an IIASA researcher and science policy coordinator of RESTORE+.

According to Yowargana, an added benefit of the Urundata platform lies in the fact that the crowdsourced data collection allows people that would not normally be concerned with land use issues to get involved, thereby significantly raising awareness around conservation issues and increasing the chance for collective action among Indonesians.

Plans are underway to expand the usage of the Urundata app in addressing other complex
sustainability issues in Indonesia.

By Ansa Heyl

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Last edited: 03 June 2020


Ping Yowargana

Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Research program involved

Ecosystems Services and Management

Options Summer 2020

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