Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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6.2. Relevant issues in the IPCC Guidelines for Reporting under the Kyoto Protocol

This section reviews the Guidelines and summarizes issues relevant to Articles 3.3 and 3.4 of the Protocol.

6.2.1. Relevance of the IPCC Guidelines to the Protocol

Two linked themes underpin the accounting methods in the LUCF chapters of the Guidelines. First, net emissions and removals of atmospheric carbon (as CO2) by the land are assumed to be equal to changes in biomass carbon and soil carbon stocks. Second, annual changes in carbon stocks are calculated from rates of change in land use and the human activities that bring about these changes.
The estimated emissions and removals of CO2 are reported in the following categories in the LUCF chapter:

All three ARD activities are described in the Guidelines. Deforestation (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 5.6) is referred to as conversion of forest, often accompanied by burning. Afforestation is defined as planting of new forests on lands that historically have not contained forests (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 1, p.1, Glossary). Reforestation is defined as planting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but have been converted to some other use or some other species (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 1, Glossary).

Afforestation and reforestation activities are described differently in a footnote of the Reference Manual (Vol. 3, p. 5.14), which states that "plantations are forest stands that have been established artificially, to produce a forest product 'crop.' They are either on lands that previously have not supported forests for more than 50 years (afforestation), or on lands that previously supported forests within the last 50 years and where the original crop has been replaced with a different one (reforestation) (Brown et al., 1986)."

Consistent with the concept of comprehensive accounting, all trees can be potentially included in the national inventory. The default biomass data for forests are based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), at least for the tropics (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 5.7). According to the Guidelines, however, percentage crown cover can also be used to characterize open and closed forests (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 5.7). The IPCC categories of trees are potentially wide-ranging and can be extended to include those that are not traditionally considered "forests," such as village and farm trees (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 5.7) and urban trees (IPCC, 1997, Vol. 1, p. 1.14). Chapters 2 and 3 discuss other definitions of forests and their implications.

Users of the Guidelines are required to select appropriate input data and assumptions for the methods chosen. Users must decide on forest definitions, land-use classifications, activities, land areas subject to ARD and other activities, accounting methods, and the number of carbon pools to be included in the inventory. The Guidelines provide definitions and guidance for choosing appropriate definitions, but they are not prescriptive. As noted in Chapters 2 and 3, an inventory for LULUCF is sensitive to varying definitions. The amount of land that is brought into the inventory, for example, depends critically on the definitions applied. The Guidelines allow considerable flexibility in their interpretation and do not, in themselves, ensure consistency in reporting among Parties (see Section 6.2.3.).
For Parties that wish to move away from defaults and collect national data, the Guidelines offer only a limited range of methods-though this situation is not unique to LULUCF. Currently, the Guidelines do not provide a framework for reporting the variability and uncertainty of national data; again, this situation is not unique to LULUCF.

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