Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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3.4. Data Needs and Methods for Implementing Article 3.3

Implementation of Article 3.3 may involve identification of ARD activities during specified time periods, as well as stock changes resulting from those activities. This combination translates into data requirements that are summarized in Table 3-7. The definitions chosen for forest, afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation and the interpretation of the phrase "direct human-induced" will have significant effects on the data required for implementation of Article 3.3. These impacts include the possible need to develop a procedure for recalculating forest carbon stocks from national forest inventory data or adjust national forest inventory systems to fit the needs of the Kyoto Protocol.

Table 3-7: Data sources for Article 3.3 reporting requirements.

Data Requirement
Remote Sensing
Forest Inventory
Activit Reporting

1990 forest extent
2012 forest extent
A/R activities undertaken
D activities undertaken
1990 carbon stock
2008 carbon stock
2012 carbon stock
C stock before deforestation
C stock at beginning of activity that starts after 2008

For forest extent
Land use
Percent cover
Regeneration potential
Carbon density
Cover class

a Where forest is present in inventories subsequent to 1990, it should be possible to determine if that forest originated since 1990. In some cases this will represent AR activities. Where forest is not present in inventories after 1990, it may be impossible to determine from sample plots whether forest was present in 1990.
b If inventory dates do not match specific years of interest, models can be used to project inventory conditions to the beginning and end year of commitment periods.
c It is assumed that activities beneficial to a country would be reliably reported in an activity reporting mechanism.
d Identification of deforestation through activity reporting relies heavily on enforcement of permitting or reporting regulations. Verifiability could be difficult to ensure.
e Some sustainable forestry verification methods require reporting of adequate regeneration.

To assess carbon stock changes associated with activities defined under Article 3.3, two approaches could be developed: an activity-based approach or a land-based approach. The activity-based approach requires identification of ARD activities (e.g., through reporting, legal permit systems, or remote sensing). The land-based approach requires identification of land areas where ARD has occurred (e.g., through remote sensing or forest inventory systems). Once direct human-induced ARD activities have been identified, carbon stock changes have to be estimated.

The timing for identification of ARD activities and estimation of carbon stock changes is different. This timing will depend on the type of carbon accounting system (land- or activity-based), as well as the definitions and rules accorded. These factors may also determine which stock estimates will be necessary. For instance, the Flexible scenario may require a stock estimate in 1990, and the D-R Rule (Section may require stock estimates in 1990 or at other intermediate years between 1990 and 2012. For some countries, this information may be difficult to obtain. Likewise, changes in carbon stock may occur for many years after ARD activities (e.g., soil carbon loss under cultivation), so stock change assessments may be required for areas that have been in a non-forest condition for some time.

Depending on the definitions selected and the monitoring methodology used, accurate estimates of carbon stock changes may require knowledge of the specific year, or 5-year period, during which land becomes ARD land. In some monitoring methodologies, estimation of carbon changes during the reporting period may be based on models of temporal differences in carbon pools following disturbance, as described in the IPCC Guidelines (IPCC, 1997). If this methodology is used, accurate determination of the year of the disturbance is of prime importance.

Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol limits activities to ARD resulting from "direct human-induced activities." The DHI clause establishes the need to determine-in every case in which a change in land use and/or land cover has occurred-whether the change resulted from a DHI activity. The difficulty in determining this differs between scenarios.

The most restrictive scenarios (with respect to determining DHI) are those that create ARD land only through change of land cover at maturity to or from forests but do not include reforestation after clearing (e.g., IPCC or Land Use scenarios). In these scenarios, the direct human involvement can be established where forests are replaced with a new form of land use, as well as where afforestation has created new forests. It is more difficult to determine DHI in cases such as inter alia exclusion of cattle grazing or fire suppression resulting in forest establishment, or where a natural disturbance (e.g., a severe forest fire followed by regeneration failure) caused the change in forest cover. Clear guidelines will be required to establish whether direct human involvement has occurred in such cases.

In less restrictive scenarios, harvest followed by reforestation creates ARD land (e.g., FAO or Land Cover scenarios). In these cases, two events need to be assessed: the cause of the reduction in forest cover (e.g., wildfire, wind-throw, harvest)-which needs to be assessed in the Land Cover scenario-and the cause of stand establishment (which needs to be assessed in both scenarios). Under FAO and Land Cover scenarios, for example, a wildfire caused by lightning in 2009 followed by reforestation through planting may create ARD land, for which the carbon stock change must be evaluated. In the FAO scenario with a land-based accounting approach, the decision to plant the area devoid of trees through natural disturbance will result in a carbon debit because the carbon stock in 2008 was greater than that in 2012 (land-based approach I) (see Section 3.3.2) or the carbon stock at the beginning of the reforestation was greater than that in 2012 because of decay of slash (land-based approach II) (see Section 3.3.2). This debit would penalize a decision to plant even though this reforestation activity might contribute to carbon sequestration.

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