188.8.131.52. How Can Carbon Accounting of ARD Land during Future Commitment Periods
Be Carried Out?
Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol is specific in that the allowable offsets
from ARD activities must be "measured as verifiable changes in carbon stocks
in each commitment period." Once a piece of land falls under the definitions
of Article 3.3 during one commitment period, can it subsequently be removed
from the accounting? It is logical to assume that land could change from the
deforestation category to reforestation or vice versa. If a piece of land can
be removed from the ARD lands category at later times (e.g., when the activity
ends in an activity-based approach), large carbon stocks that were credited
previously could be released without debits (Schlamadinger and Marland, 1998).
The words "in each commitment period" in Article 3.3 suggest a reporting requirement
for future commitment periods. Over time, the area of ARD land would increase
because no land can be removed from this classification.
The inclusion of afforestation and reforestation since 1990 provides countries
with an additional tool for achieving their assigned carbon emission targets
during the first commitment period because most forests established since 1990
would still be growing rapidly in 2012. If the Kyoto Protocol were applied to
future, contiguous commitment periods and if more and more post-1990 forests
were harvested during these periods, credits would be followed by debits on
the stand level (see also Section 184.108.40.206 on ways to limit
such debits). On the national level, however, credits would only decrease over
time as the forest estate approaches a biomass equilibrium. Carbon trends in
these future commitment periods will partly depend on the definitions of stocks
(see Section 2.3.6). On-site carbon stocks in post-1990
forests are likely to increase for decades (provided the total area of eligible
forests does not decrease over time and forests are logged on a sustainable-yield
basis). However, the rate of increase-hence the amount of allowable offsets-is
likely to diminish over time.