How interactive web maps revolutionize the communication for landscape reforestation projects.

My experience is, that it is difficult to describe a reforestation project towards an external, e.g. an investor, in a way that he gets a clear and complete project picture. Reforestation is always embedded in a dynamic landscape and all project components have a visual, time, and spatial dimension. Therefore, a project story is more than a linear structured report.

Maps are a suitable tool to provide an idea of the spatial distribution of the project components. Whereas photos and videos can transport visual insights right from the field, like showing the planted trees, involved smallholders, as well as deforestation threats. Further, written reports can help to better understand the project settings, e.g. political and social circumstances, and the development over time.

We believe that an interactive web map is a powerful tool to bring together various thematic maps, photos, videos, monitoring data, as well as text descriptions. The interconnection of all media makes it easy to guide a visitor through all dimensions of the projects virtual space.

Now I want to show how already a few web map views and a short description can guide a visitor through the project story. We have selected typical questions which might be asked by interested externals.

Where is the project located?

The project is located in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The colored markers show the project location.

How has the surrounding landscape changed over the recent years?

Two satellite images, one from 2000 on the left side and one from 2015 on the right side, show the status of the forest cover. With the help of an interactive swipe functionality they can be compared.

The reddish coloring on the satellite maps show deforested areas caused by the establishment of palm oil plantations or gold mining activities. From 2000 to 2015 the forest loss in the project region is about 60.000 hectares.

Satellite image from 2015 on the left and from 2000 on the right. Closed forest cover is shown as dark green and recently deforested areas are red. The colored markers show the locations of project activities and selected points of interest.

What are the key drivers of deforestation and how does the landscape look like today?

Gold mining and palm oil plantation establishment are the major drivers of deforestation in the project region.

Gold mining activities close to a village.
Detailed view on gold mining activities and their impact on the forest cover.
Large-scale palm oil plantation.

Who are the persons involved and what are their activities?

Hundreds of plots are being reforested with a leguminous tree species by local smallholders.

This segment of the web map shows how the reforested plots are distributed. Every plot has publicly accessible monitoring data.

What has been achieved and can it already be seen and measured?

This is how it looks before and after reforestation. Drone images taken at different points in time are overlaid to measure the reforestation success.

Overlay of a drone image from 2016 before planting and another image after planting in 2017. Reforestation success can be visually documented.
Web Map of the One Million Trees Program in Borneo, a project of Fairventures Worldwide.

We believe that interactive web maps have the potential to become a universal tool to support project communication & reporting, while telling the stories in a comprehensive and empathic way.


Founder and CEO, OpenForests. Passioned about finding answers to the burning questions of our time. With our tools, we want to connect people and forests.