Carbon Inventory for Agroforestry Shelterbelt Grassland Management and Soil Conservation Activities

Carbon inventory is required for agroforestry, shelterbelt, grassland management and soil conservation projects and activities. The methods for estimating carbon from biomass and soil are similar to those described in earlier sections. This section presents the key features and the carbon pools to be included.

(i) Agroforestry Agroforestry is often a component of village ecosystems involving a large number of farms. Agroforestry projects aim to enhance: (i) the density and diversity of trees and carbon stock in soil and vegetation, (ii) flow of tree-based products and incomes and (iii) crop productivity. Crop production remains the dominant activity, with rows of trees in the middle of a crop or along the bunds or boundaries of fields.

Carbon pools Above-ground tree biomass is the most important carbon pool. Soil organic carbon needs to be measured only if the agroforestry activity involves planting a large number of trees or rows of trees spaced densely, although it is difficult to suggest a specific number.

(ii) Shelterbelt Shelterbelts comprise rows of trees at the boundary of a village or a block of farms to check wind erosion, halt desertification, enhance carbon stocks, possibly increase biomass (fuelwood and non-wood tree products) and ultimately increase crop productivity.

Carbon pools Above-ground tree biomass is the only critical carbon pool to be measured or monitored. Below-ground biomass can be estimated using root to shoot ratio. Because the density of trees per hectare is low, other carbon pools may not be relevant.

(iii) Soil conservation practices Watershed protection including soil conservation is one of the critical objectives of many land development projects. Watershed protection is achieved by soil conservation practices such as contour bunding, gully plugging, and check dams. Soil conservation measures also increase soil organic matter and productivity of crops or grass cover.

Carbon pools The only carbon pool that will be impacted is soil carbon.

(iv) Grassland management practices Grassland or pasture land or rangeland management practices, including soil and water conservation, planting grasses, regulation of grazing or grass harvest and fire control, could lead to increased grass productivity and increased soil carbon density.

Carbon pools The most important carbon pool to be measured or monitored is soil carbon, which will be impacted most by grassland management practices.

17.7 Data and Sources of Data

Estimation of carbon stock changes or emissions and removals of CO2 at a project or national level for a given year or over a period of years requires data on the area under a selected land-use category or project activity and estimates of carbon stock or rate of change per unit area. The reliability of estimates depends on the quality of the data on area as well as factors that affect carbon stocks and changes in the stocks. This handbook focuses on estimation of stocks and rates of changes of different carbon pools. The values for the stocks and rates of change in different carbon pools are highly variable for different forest, plantation, grassland and agroforestry systems, based on rainfall, soil type, topography, species and management systems. Estimates of carbon stocks and changes for land-use systems are characterized by high variation and possibly uncertainty. The values of carbon stocks and rates of change for different carbon pools should be ideally measured and estimated for different locations. However, it may not always be feasible to measure the different carbon pools at the project level or land-category level and particularly at the national level. Thus, the values for different carbon pools may have to be obtained from literature, databases and measurements carried out at other locations with similar biophysical conditions.

Carbon inventories at project as well as national level are often carried out using default or literature-based values. Default values are factors or data obtained from experiments and from field and laboratory measurements or from studies of stocks and growth rates of different carbon pools using statistical procedures and published in databases, reports, books and journal articles. The IPCC guidelines (IPCC 1996, 2003, 2006) provide Tier 1 methods for estimating CO2 emissions and removals, which are largely based on default values. Default values from literature, models and experiments are indispensable to carbon inventories, particularly in the following situations:

• The project development phase requires default values for all the carbon pools to project gains in carbon stocks or roundwood production.

• The project monitoring phase requires default values for some carbon pools or conversion factors such as biomass conversion and expansion factors and root to shoot ratios since these values are difficult to measure in all the projects or locations.

• A national greenhouse gas inventory involves estimation of CO2 emissions and removals for all land-use categories and all the relevant carbon pools, and it is very rarely that the required values of carbon stock changes for all land-use categories are measured.

• Economic analyses of roundwood production programmes often measure a few parameters and use models and default data to estimate costs and benefits from wood production.

The main approach that any project developer or greenhouse gas inventory expert should take is to generate location-specific values for different carbon pools and use default values only when it is not feasible or too expensive to locally estimate the values for carbon stocks and changes. However, most often default values or conversion factors are used for one or more carbon pools by project developers, monitoring experts and GHG inventory compilers. Any carbon inventory expert must be familiar with different sources of carbon emissions and removals and default values of the rates of stock change. The inventory expert may have to scan all the default data, evaluate or validate them based on expert judgment and use the values. This section discusses the input data needed, different sources of default data and their use in carbon inventory.

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Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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