Generic Methods for Inventory of Carbon Pools

A carbon inventory involves estimation of changes in the stocks of the carbon pools over 1 year or between two points in time. Carbon inventory requires measurement and monitoring of all the selected carbon pools relevant to a land-based project or national greenhouse gas inventory for land-use categories. The features of different carbon pools described in Chapter 4 showed the need for different methods for inventory of different pools. Because multiple methods are available even for a single carbon pool, an appropriate method should be selected. The choice depends on several factors:

• Land-use category or land-use system, including vegetation cover

• Size of the land-use category and project area

• Accuracy of the estimate needed

• Resources available and cost-effectiveness of the method

• Project cycle; project development phase or project monitoring phase

• Technical capacity and institutional infrastructure available for inventory

In this chapter, the generic approach to estimating carbon through "Gain-Loss" or "Stock-Difference" method is presented (IPCC 2003, 2006) along with an overview of the various methods for estimating different carbon pools.

9.1 Approaches to Estimating Carbon Stock Changes

Carbon stock change is the sum of changes in stocks of all the carbon pools in a given area over a period of time, which could be averaged to annual stock changes. A generic equation for estimating the changes in carbon stock for a given land-use category or project is given below:

Annual carbon stock change for a land-use category is the sum of changes in all carbon pools:

aclui = acab + acbb + acdw + acli + acsc where ACLUi is carbon stock change for a land-use category, AB=above-ground biomass, bB=below-ground biomass, DW=deadwood, LI=litter and SC=soil carbon.

The equation requires the stock change to be estimated for each of the pools. The changes in the carbon pool could be estimated using the two approaches based on IPCC guidelines (IPCC 2003, 2006):

1. Carbon "Gain-Loss"

2. Carbon "Stock-Change" or "Stock-Difference"

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