Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol does not clearly state whether the decision made by the COP for the second and subsequent commitment periods will apply identically to the Parties who choose to include the additional human-induced activities in their accounts for the first commitment period (see Figure 4-1). A challenge for inclusion of additional activities during the first commitment period would be rapid implementation of systems for monitoring, reporting, and verifying changes in carbon stocks.
If activity is defined broadly enough that the accounting can reflect changes in carbon stock over entire land use areas (such as a Party's entire managed forest area), measurements could be done with a combination of forest inventory and models. This approach would be consistent with the manner in which many countries conduct forest and natural resource inventories today. Establishing a reporting system for additional human-induced activities by 2008-2012 will be a substantial challenge for most Parties. This effort will be particularly daunting if there must be a way to identify and track the specific patches upon which an activity has occurred since 1990. There could also be a need for a way to measure the changes in carbon stocks in a geographically explicit way between 2008 and 2012. This potential requirement will challenge many Parties given the technology, data, resources, and short time available. New techniques for assessing land cover and condition that currently are in the research domain are likely to continue to develop. These techniques should deliver quicker, less labor-intensive, and more cost-effective approaches in the future. Post et al. (1999) provide a thorough review of the prospects for monitoring and verifying changes in soil carbon.
Other reports in this collection