Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Kyoto carbon budget for afforestation activities under article 3.3

Methodologies for reporting afforestation/reforestation activities to the Kyoto Protocol are largely based around inventory data from land use, forestry and other national databases. The main issues to be overcome in reporting afforestation activities under Article 3.3 of the Protocol are area identification and carbon stock estimates of the five specified pools (i.e. above-and belowground biomass, soil organic carbon, deadwood and litter). Young forest stands pose difficulties in detection as well as carbon stock development as they have not yet reached the merchantable timber volume upon which most national forest inventories are based (NFI). This results in increased uncertainty in the development of C stocks for reporting.

A case study approach was applied to identify and test specific data requirements for afforestation/reforestation reporting under Article 3.3 to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) according to the Good Practice Guidance for reporting Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (GPG LULUCF). Ireland was selected to host the test area due to the high levels of annual afforestation and the absence of a NFI at the time of the project commencement. The planning of the first NFI gained from the project through the inclusion of trees <7cm dbh in the plot measurements allowing plot based DBH and height distributions to be developed for all trees. Additionally, the presence (and data for developing volume estimates) of dead wood and litter are recorded, and the soil classified.

Measurements within NFI plots identified in the test area were used as well as results from national research and other default values were used in a comparison C stocks and uncertainties calculated at the three tiers of reporting outlined in the GPG LULUCF. Aerial photography was used in combination with the national forest administration database and NFI plot points to identify and validate forest boundaries. Field research undertaken during the course of the project resulted in the development of above- and belowground biomass functions for the two main tree species. All work undertaken in the field resulted in increased certainty in estimates.

The example has particular national interest in Ireland in the development of methodologies for reporting during the commitment period, and also for the wider community as an example as to how to use existing data sources. A detailed report has been submitted to appropriate national government departments responsible for developing national inventories to the UNFCCC and a scientific paper is in preparation for publication in a peer reviewed journal. This case study will aid in the preparation of national C inventories with improved transparency and reduced uncertainty estimates for reporting to the UNFCCC.

Related information

Reported by

Forest Ecosystem Research Group
School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield
D4 Dublin
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