Carbon Inventory for Climate Change Mitigation Projects or Programmes

Land-use sectors have been recognized as critical to addressing climate change concerns. Mitigation of climate change through land-based activities has been a contentious issue in global negotiations under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol because of several methodological issues related to measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon benefits (Ravindranath and Sathaye 2002). Carbon inventory for mitigation projects requires methods for estimating carbon stocks and changes due to project activities for selected periods at the project concept formulation, proposal development, project implementation and monitoring stages. Methods are required for the baseline (without project) and mitigation scenarios. Mitigating climate change through land-use sectors involves reducing CO2 emissions or enhancing carbon sinks in biomass, soil and wood products. Reducing deforestation, sustainable forest management, afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry, urban forestry, shelter belts, grassland management and substitution of fossil fuels with bioenergy are examples of mitigation opportunities in land-use sectors.

A carbon inventory for climate change mitigation projects and programmes in the land-use sector involves monitoring and estimation of additional or incremental carbon emission avoided or carbon sequestered due to implementation of a project activity or a programme or a policy initiative. Carbon inventory leads to estimation of tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided by halting deforestation and fossil fuel substitution or, alternatively, estimation of tonnes of carbon sequestered in biomass and soil as a result of enhancement of sinks through afforestation, reforestation and grassland reclamation activities. The focus of this handbook is on measurement and monitoring of carbon stock changes in biomass and soil in land-based projects and programmes. The methods and guidelines can also be used for estimation and monitoring of carbon stock changes due to avoided deforestation activities.

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