The project conceptualization phase involves conceiving the project idea, setting goals, assessing potential locations, deciding on the scale of the project, and involvement of institutions and stakeholders, as well as consideration of the likely environmental, social and economic impacts.
Defining project goals The project could have multiple interrelated goals or a single goal. Examples of project goals are given below:
• Environmental goals: climate change mitigation, forest and biodiversity conservation, land reclamation and sustainable land (or forest or ecosystem) management
• Economic goals: production of timber, industrial roundwood, fuelwood and biomass feedstock for energy generation
• Social goals: improving the livelihoods of forest- and livestock-dependent communities, participatory management of natural resources including forests or grassland
The project goals are defined by involving all the concerned stakeholders. A commercial project for industrial roundwood production may have an overriding objective of maximizing harvestable roundwood, while a community forestry project is likely to have multiple goals such as biodiversity conservation, fuelwood production, land reclamation and employment or livelihood generation. The objectives of a project determine the importance of carbon inventory and the different carbon pools. A carbon mitigation project may require all carbon pools to be estimated, while that meant for producing industrial wood may focus only on above-ground merchantable biomass pool.
Location and scale of the project It is important to identify potential locations early in the project cycle for all land-based projects. The project area could be a single parcel of land or have multiple locations, such as villages, forest patches or farms. Single or multiple locations have implications for sampling. Multiple and dispersed locations of project area may require multistage stratification and a larger sample than a single parcel of the project area, even when the total project area is the same. The heterogeneity of land plays an important role in sampling and thus has implications for carbon stocks and inventory methods. The project could be a small-scale project covering a village or a few hundred hectares or it could be a large-scale project involving tens or hundreds of thousands of hectares. The scale too has implications for carbon inventory methods: a small-scale project may adopt measurement of trees using the plot method, while a large project may add remote sensing techniques for estimating biomass in addition to the plot method.
Institutions and stakeholders Goals, location and scale of a project may often depend on the stakeholders involved. In a community forestry project, the key stakeholder is the local community; a project for producing industrial roundwood may involve a single industry controlling all the resource or the project could be a joint venture of large number of farmers and an industry. The type of institutions and stakeholders has implications for carbon inventory methods. A community forestry project may adopt simple and cost-effective participatory techniques for estimating biomass (e.g. fuelwood) or carbon stocks, while a large commercial project for producing industrial roundwood may adopt remote sensing techniques for estimating roundwood production or carbon stocks.
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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.