Choice of activity data

Activity data should be consistent with the activity data used for estimating changes in biomass on land areas converted to Cropland. This can be obtained, consistent with the general principles set out in Chapter 3 and as described earlier through national statistics, from forest services, conservation agencies, municipalities, survey and mapping agencies. Cross-checks should be made to ensure complete and consistent representation of annually converted lands in order to avoid possible omissions or double counting. Data should be disaggregated according to the general climatic categories and Cropland types. Tier 3 inventories will require more comprehensive information on the establishment of new croplands, with refined soil classes, climates, and spatial and temporal resolution. All changes having occurred over the number of years selected as the transition period should be included with transitions older than the transition period (default 20 years) reported as a subdivision of Cropland Remaining Cropland.

All tiers require estimates of land areas converted to Cropland. The same area data should be used for biomass calculations, dead organic matter and the soil carbon estimates. If necessary, area data used in the soils analysis can be aggregated to match the spatial scale required for lower order estimates of biomass; however, at higher tiers, stratification should take account of major soil types. Area data should be obtained using the methods described in Chapter 3. Higher tiers require greater detail but the minimum requirement for inventories to be consistent with the IPCC Guidelines is that the areas of forest conversion can be identified separately. This is because forest will usually have higher carbon density before conversion. This implies that at least partial knowledge of the land-use change matrix, and therefore, where Approaches 1 and 2 from Chapter 3 are used to estimate land area are being used, supplementary surveys may be needed to identify the area of land being converted from Forest Land to Cropland. As pointed out in Chapter 3, where surveys are being set up, it will often be more accurate to determine directly areas undergoing conversion, than to estimate these from the differences in total land areas under particular uses at different times.

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