“Warehouse” of biomass and land-use data available to public

February 6, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

A world-class data and information management system that collates inventories from forestry, agriculture, and municipal sectors in Alberta is now available to the public. This new interactive web-based tool designed by Silvacom and Alberta Innovates will support potential investment in Alberta’s bio-resource economy by connecting the world to provincial biomass, ecosystem services, and land-use data.

Bio-Resource Information Management System BRIMS is a centralized, comprehensive spatial warehouse of biomass, ecosystem services, and land-use data.

John Peters, director of energy and environment with Silvacom, explains that existing forestry and agricultural operations in the province are constantly being approached by potential investors to consider collaboration in bioresource initiatives. “For companies to take advantage of these opportunities, they required access to investment-grade biomass and ecosystem services data to help make solid investment and logistical decisions. Silvacom is beyond thrilled to be a part of the BRIMS story as we know this word-class system is what investors have been looking for.”

BRIMS is a multi-phase project that began life as a proof of concept framework and grew to become the comprehensive, multi-resource database that it is today. The developers believe that to encourage green investment in the province, there needs to be public access to high-resolution, investment grade biomass and other ecosystem services data. The BRIMS web application was specifically designed by Silvacom and Alberta Innovates, with data partnerships from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), to respond to this need.

BRIMS enables informed bio-resource management and investment decisions in the province by identifying dependable, spatially explicit sources of biomass and other ecosystem services in Alberta.

“Our investment in the BRIMS application demonstrates our commitment to diversifying the economy by providing businesses and government access to data that will both support sound investment decisions and help build a greener Alberta,” says Laura Kilcrease, Alberta Innovates CEO.

BRIMS is designed to answer questions such as: How much biomass exists? Where is biomass located? What are the components of the biomass? What is the quality of the biomass? What are the environmental implications of managing the biomass?

Ecosystem services are sometimes described as the benefits nature provides to human well-being. The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) models several ecosystem services as a part of a province-wide ecosystem services assessment initiative. The ecosystem services modeled by ABMI to-date are water purification, pollination, forest timber and carbon, rangeland forage and carbon, and biodiversity. Several key ecosystem services indicators which contribute to the models are incorporated into the BRIMS framework. The developers say expanding BRIMS to include ecosystem services strengthens the framework’s capacity to inform policy and industrial decision makers, and that understanding the locations and trade-offs of different ecosystem services helps individuals or businesses make informed resource management and investment decisions.

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