Global climate policy initiatives are now being proposed to compensate tropical forest nations for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). This working paper by a panel of experts from the Nicholas Institute, Conservational International and the University of Wisconsin-Madison reviews existing data and methods that could be used to measure historical deforestation and degradation baselines, including FAO national statistics and various remote-sensing sources, and thus aid in the creation of a credible benchmark against which future emissions reductions can be measured.
The Forest Project Protocol (FPP) provides requirements and guidance for quantifying the net climate benefits of activities that sequester carbon on forestland.
The protocol provides project eligibility rules; methods to calculate a project’s net effects on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals of CO2 from the atmosphere; procedures for assessing the risk that carbon sequestered by a project may be reversed (i.e. released back to the atmosphere); and approaches for long term project monitoring and reporting.
This REDD Methodology Framework from Avoided Deforestation Partners provides guidance for constructing methodologies for REDD project activities compliant with the validation and verification requirements of the VCS. By using this document, a REDD methodology can be constructed based on a set of pre-defined VCS-approved modules.
The resulting methodology will be VCS-approved without the requirement of a methodology validation. Modules and tools are presented that can be used to generate methodologies for activities to reduce emissions from planned and unplanned deforestation and for activities to reduce emissions from forest degradation caused by extraction of wood for fuel. No modules are included for activities to reduce emissions from forest degradation caused by illegal harvesting of trees for timber; such a module may be included in the future.
If global policies intended to promote forest conservation continue to use the definition of "forest" adopted in 2001 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (an area of >0.05–1 ha with >10–30% cover of plants >2–5 m tall at maturity), great quantities of carbon and other environmental values will be lost when natural forests are severely degraded or replaced by plantations but technically remain "forests."
While a definition of "forest" that is globally acceptable and appropriate for monitoring using standard remote sensing options will necessarily be based on a small set of easily measured parameters, there are dangers when simple definitions are applied locally. At the very least, we recommend that natural forest be differentiated from plantations and that for defining "forest" the lower height limit defining "trees" be set at more than 5 m tall with the minimum cover of trees be set at more than 40%.
Following an overview of the role of forests in climate change, this paper examines design elements that will affect the integrity of a REDD policy, including issues of scope, monitoring, baselines, leakage, stakeholder interests, permanence and liability, and the potential impact of REDD credits on the carbon market. It closes with an overview of the issues facing developing countries that would host REDD activities.
This tool can be used to estimate the increase in emissions of greenhouse gases due to live vegetation existing within the project boundary at the time an A/R project commences—the “existing vegetation”—being cleared, burned, and/or left to decay as part of site preparation or other project implementation activities.
This tool is applicable if sample plots are used for monitoring purposes. The tool estimates the number of permanent sample plots needed for monitoring changes in carbon pools at a desired precision level.