Monitoring Carbon Stock Changes in the Project Scenario

Monitoring of carbon stock changes is required in the post-project implementation stage for all projects, whether carbon mitigation or other land-based conservation and development projects. The monitoring phase starts only after project activities are implemented and carbon stock gains begin to accrue in quantities significant enough to be measured and estimated. Unlike the project development phase, the monitoring phase is largely based on field and laboratory studies. Impacts of the project are measured during this phase in relation to project goals. One of the key initial steps is to identify the carbon pools impacted by the project activities for monitoring. Monitoring of different carbon pools starts at different periods depending on the carbon pool and can continue for long periods, even decades, depending on the features of the project activity. Refer to Chapter 4 for details on selection of carbon pools and frequency of monitoring. The methods to be adopted during the monitoring phase are:

(i) Field and laboratory studies

(ii) Remote sensing

(iii) Modelling

The suitability of these methods to estimate carbon stocks and changes in the stocks for different broad project types is given in Table 7.1. All project types require field and laboratory methods involving measurements. Measurement methods generate input data as input to the models for projections and for validating the results obtained from remote sensing. Remote sensing methods are particularly useful in monitoring changes in land use or land cover over the years while models can be useful in projecting carbon stocks based on input data on carbon stocks and growth rates, which is described in Chapter 15.

(i) Field measurement and laboratory studies Land-based projects in forest, cropland and grassland categories are characterized by large diversity of vegetation, soil, rainfall, topography, altitude and management practices. These differences make large impacts on carbon stocks and growth rates. Further, these physical and biological factors have differing implications for stocks and rates of changes on different carbon pools. For example, grasslands have more of soil organic carbon than biomass carbon, and valley lands have higher soil carbon than sloping lands do. Thus, the key carbon pools and methods for carbon inventory will vary with soil, rainfall, temperature and topography apart from vegetation types

Table 7.1 Suitability of field studies, remote sensing and modelling for estimating different carbon stocks under different types of projects

Project type

Field studies

Remote sensing

Modelling

st e

- Biomass and soil car-

- Distinct land-use changes

- Not suitable for area

d e

bon stocks and changes

estimation

id oi

r

n

- Area changes

- Canopy cover change

- Requires data on

%

e d

io

carbon stocks

y IS

- Area planted annually

- Monitoring distinct land

- Not suitable for area

d

on

s

from project

use or land cover changes

estimates or

tat

tat

e en

n io

authorities

monitoring

st re

st re

c bi

tat nt

- Permanent and control

- Equations available

J <

e r

d n a

la "a

plots for monitoring biomass and soil carbon stocks

for projection of biomass

nt

- Area under manage-

- Not suitable for area

- Not suitable for

st

IE

ment from project

estimation

area estimation and

e r o

IE

authorities

- Not suitable for carbon

biomass and soil

tu

- Measurements of carbon stocks

stock change estimation

carbon estimation

- Area from project

- Area and canopy change

-Area monitoring,

try

authorities

estimation feasible

biomass and soil

<£

carbon projection not feasible

M

- Permanent plots for

- Biomass and soil carbon

<

monitoring biomass and soil carbon stocks

estimation not feasible

d

n

- Area from project

- Area monitoring not

- Area estimation not

n la

io

authorities

feasible

feasible

C

la

- Biomass and soil car-

- Biomass and soil carbon

- Biomass and soil

cl e

bon from permanent

estimation not feasible

carbon estimation

r

plots

limited

- Area from project

- Area estimation feasible

- Area estimation not

r te

s

authorities

feasible

^

bel

- Biomass and soil carbon

- Estimation of biomass and

- Biomass and soil

S

from permanent plots

soil carbon not feasible

carbon estimation limited

and management practices. Given the diversity and variation, the best approach to monitoring carbon stock pools is to conduct field studies at the project location to measure biomass and soil carbon pools, since this will yield actual location-specific data. Field and laboratory studies have been routinely adopted for monitoring forest, roundwood, grass and crop production projects apart from soil organic carbon monitoring in all land-use categories. Field and laboratory studies for monitoring different carbon pools are described in detail later (Chapters 10-13) and involve the following broad steps:

Step 1: Define the project boundary encompassing all land where project activities have been implemented and demarcate it on a map.

Step 2: Monitor and record land-use changes and implementation of project activities in the project area annually.

Step 3: Stratify the project area based on the following:

o Project activity, such as forest area brought under protection, raising a plantation, grassland management, different agroforestry systems and shelterbelts o Any critical differences in soil, topography or management

Step 4: Identify key carbon pools for different project activities and strata.

Step 5: Adopt the "permanent plot" method for periodic measurement of carbon pools in the selected strata in the project area.

Step 6: Select an appropriate method for each carbon pool (Chapters 10-13).

Step 7: Estimate the change in carbon stocks of different carbon pools according to the frequency of monitoring selected for each pool and aggregate all the pools for the project area for the period under consideration.

Step 8: Monitor leakage of carbon stocks outside the project boundary through control plots (Chapter 6).

Step 9 Monitor changes in carbon stock under the baseline scenario (refer to Section 7.2).

Step 10. Calculate the net gain or loss in carbon stocks due to the project activity and for the total project area over the period selected.

Net additional/incremental carbon benefit for the selected period = (carbon stock change under project scenario - carbon stock change under the baseline scenario

- leakage)

(ii) Modelling for gains in carbon stocks Very often, project managers want to project future carbon benefits based on the initial measurements to get an idea of the likely long-term gains in carbon stocks. Modelling techniques can be used to project such gains monitored over a given initial period, 5 years, for example, into the future, may be 10 or 30 years after the project implementation. Models such as PRO-COMAP, which use average carbon stock and rate of change for each pool, can be used to make projections with limited input data:

Step 1: Select the project activities and strata.

Step 2: Select the model suitable for the project activity, for example, PRO-COMAP modules for short rotation and long rotation or CO2-FIX for projecting carbon stock changes in a forest regeneration project.

Step 3: Identify the input parameters required for making projections.

Step 4: Generate the input parameters based on field measurements and laboratory studies during the initial years and use default data where relevant.

Step 5: Input the parameters into the model and generate future carbon stocks or incremental stock gains for a given project activity and area, based on the monitoring carried out for the initial period.

(iii) Remote sensing techniques Remote sensing techniques could be used for monitoring distinct changes in area under different vegetation types, such as area under forest with closed canopy, degraded forest with open canopy or grasslands within the project boundary. Monitoring changes in area using remote sensing techniques is particularly useful in large projects or in assessing the impacts of project activities on land-use systems outside the project boundary. Remote sensing techniques could also be used for monitoring forest tree canopy cover, leaf area index and other parameters to estimate the above-ground biomass. Refer to Chapter 14 for detailed discussion on the steps and methods as well as the benefits of adopting remote sensing techniques for monitoring area and changes in carbon stocks.

7.4 Summary of Methods

Estimates of gains and losses in carbon stocks are required at different phases of a project cycle, particularly project development (pre-project implementation) and monitoring (post-project implementation) phases. The broad approaches to and steps required for monitoring, estimation and projection of changes in carbon stocks for carbon mitigation or other land-based conservation and development projects are described in this chapter. Multiple approaches, such as field measurement studies and modelling, are required for any typical project. Use of default data may be necessary at all phases and particularly during the project development phase. Detailed methods for measurements, monitoring, calculation and projection of carbon stock changes are presented later in this handbook.

Project Management Made Easy

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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