Baseline Carbon Stock Monitoring During Monitoring Phase

7.2.4.1 Situations Requiring Periodic Monitoring

Monitoring of stocks of different carbon pools is required if these are expected to change under the baseline scenario or in the "without-project" situation. It is necessary to identify the factors driving changes in land use or management practices under the baseline scenario that contribute to carbon stock changes. Simulation of such factors is necessary for monitoring during the period identified for the project scenario. Potential factors that may lead to changes under baseline scenario are:

• Need for additional land for food production or livestock grazing

• Increase in livestock population and grazing intensity

• Increase in demand for fuelwood

• Changes in cropping practices

Changes in carbon stocks could be driven by a single factor or a combination of factors. Often, it may not be easy to delineate the factors driving land-use change, a management practice, or a land-use pattern or to link these factors to impacts on carbon stocks.

The rates of change in carbon stocks may also depend on the status of vegetation and soil in the base year. If the land-use system has high carbon density, any small change in management practice, such as degree of harvesting or land preparation or livestock grazing density, may lead to large changes in carbon stocks. Potential situations with differing impacts for carbon stock changes are as follows:

• Forest land with high biomass and soil carbon density is likely to undergo significant changes in carbon pools following any change in management or land-use practices, such as rate of extraction of biomass or disturbance to topsoil.

• Degraded forest land with low carbon density (both soil and biomass) is likely to undergo marginal change in carbon pools, particularly if topsoil remains undisturbed.

• Degraded grassland with no tree cover is likely to undergo no change or only marginal changes, particularly if topsoil remains undisturbed; however, disturbance to topsoil will lead to significant loss of soil carbon.

• Cropland with no tree cover is likely to undergo marginal carbon stock changes, especially if agricultural practices remain unchanged.

• Cropland with agroforestry and significant tree cover is likely to undergo changes in carbon stocks if the tree cover or soil is disturbed, but not if agricultural practices remain unchanged.

Thus, it is important to consider the following factors before deciding on monitoring in the post-implementation phase:

• Whether the area is subjected to land-use change

• Whether the area is subjected to any change in management practice

• Whether carbon stock in the land - above-ground tree biomass and soil carbon - is high or low

Periodic monitoring of carbon stock changes may not be critical if the lands are not subjected to changes in use or management practice and if the carbon stocks are very low.

7.2.4.2 Control Plot Approach for Carbon Stock Monitoring under Baseline Scenario

Monitoring of carbon stock changes under the baseline scenario during postimplementation project period requires simulation of the "without-project" conditions. It is necessary to simulate the baseline conditions to monitor the periodic changes in carbon stocks of different pools. It may be difficult to simulate such "without-project" conditions as grazing or extraction within the project boundary since the project developers are interested in bringing maximum potential area under the project activities. Therefore, the "control plot" approach could be adopted to monitor changes in carbon stocks, which involves delineating plots of land of required sample size and allowing "without-project" scenario conditions such as grazing or removal of fuelwood and leaves to persist. Two approaches could be adopted for laying out control plots:

(i) Control plots within the project boundary Control plots could be established within the project boundary for long-term monitoring of carbon stock changes. Refer to Chapter 10 for size and number of control plots to be established for long-term monitoring. Normally, plots of 0.25 ha with four replicates are adequate. Whereas large control plots exceeding a hectare may not be feasible, plots of 0.25 ha dispersed in different locations within project boundary are an alternative. Four replicates of 0.25 ha each, totalling 1 ha, account for only 0.1% of a 1,000 ha project area. Normally, most projects will have multiple parcels of land. The control plots could then be distributed among different land parcels of the total project area. The plots should be accessible for grazing or fuelwood extraction, similar to "without-project" or "pre-project" conditions.

(ii) Control plots outside the project boundary Control plots could be located outside the project boundary when it is not feasible to do so within the project boundary, for example when the project area is very small or forms a single contiguous plot. Control plots could be located adjacent to the project boundary or even in nearby villages or grazing lands or watersheds subjected to similar "without-project" scenario conditions. Locating control plots outside the project boundary may not be difficult in most situations, since similar land-use categories as proposed in the project would be available. Further, factors driving carbon stock changes such as grazing, fuelwood extraction and land-use change commonly occur over a large landscape. Refer to Chapter 10 for details on size and number of control plots to be located outside the project boundary.

The broad steps in monitoring carbon stock changes involve estimating the area under different land-use systems, establishing project boundaries, locating control plots and measuring carbon stocks in different carbon pools of the control plots.

Step 1: Adopt steps 1-4 described in Section 7.2.3.1 and identify and demarcate the strata selected for the project along with estimates of area under each stratum.

Step 2: Based on historical records of land-use change, the participatory rural appraisal method and current land-use pattern, project future land-use pattern for the project area under baseline scenario. Step 3: Establish project boundary for the project (refer to Chapter 8). Step 4: Identify the drivers that contribute to changes in land-use and management practices impacting carbon stocks. Step 5a: Establish permanent control plots for monitoring carbon stock changes for each land-use system in the project area that will not be subjected to project activities but are likely to be subjected to conditions or drivers similar to those under the "without-project" scenario

Step 5b: Establish such permanent control plots outside the project boundary. Step 6: Identify the carbon pools likely to be impacted by the drivers leading to land-

use change or changes in management practices. Step 7: Measure and estimate carbon stock changes in the control plots for the carbon pools identified using the methods given in Chapters 10-13 and the "permanent plot" technique. Step 8: Convert carbon stock values from sample plots to per hectare values Step 9 Using per hectare data on changes in carbon stocks and area involved, estimate the total baseline carbon stock change for the selected period.

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