Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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5.2.2. Experience in LULUCF Project-Based Activities: Estimates of Sequestration, Emissions Avoidance, Substitution, and Land Areas Involved

Table 5-2 summarizes a representative set of LULUCF projects currently underway that have been reported to provide carbon sequestration or emissions reduction benefits. The projects are divided into six subcategories: (i) reforestation, afforestation, and restoration; (ii) soil carbon management; (iii) forest conservation; (iv) forest management and alternative harvest practices; (v) agroforestry; and (vi) multi-component or community forestry projects that combine several of these activities. The projects listed in Table 5-2 are predominately forestry projects because experience to date has been most influenced by electric utility companies and conservation NGOs seeking projects likely to produce credible GHG benefits at costs that are lower than their emissions reduction options in their home territories, as well as conservation, biodiversity, and community development benefits. Many soil management, bioenergy, and other LULUCF management projects exist, but few have estimated and reported changes in carbon stocks or greenhouse gas emissions, so they are underrepresented in Table 5-2.

Table 5-2: Overview of selected LULUCF AIJ pilot program and other projects, in at least early stages of implementation.

Project and Host Country Dominant Activity Project Informationa Area (ha) Estimated Lifetime CO2 Benefits
(000 t C)
Estimated CO2 Benefits per Hectare
(t C ha-1)b

Carbon Sequestration through Increase in Carbon Stocks: Aforestation, Reforestation, and Restoration Projects
FACE Foundation Kroknose and Sumava National Parks, Czech Republic Reforestation, regeneration 99; 1992; The Netherlands 14,000 2,682 191
RUSAFOR, Russian Federation Afforestation plantation 40 (2 sites), 60 (2 sites); 1993; USA 900 EPA, AWM 80 89
Klinki Forestry, Costa Rica Agroforestry, afforestation 46; 1997; USA Phase I: 100 Total: 6,000 1,970 328
INFAPRO: FACE Foundation, Malaysia Enrichment planting 25 implement, 99 total; 1992; The Netherlands 14,000 3,000 170
FACE Netherlands, The Netherlands Urban forest afforestation 1992; The Netherlands 5,000 885 177
FACE Elgon/Kibale, Uganda Forest rehabilitation 1994; The Netherlands 27,000 707 26
Bottomland Hardwood Restoration, UtiliTree, Louisiana, USA Reforestation of marginal riparian farmland 70; 1996; USA 32 12.8 400
Western Oregon Carbon Sequestration Project, UtiliTree, USA Afforestation, sequestration in wood products 65; 1997; USA 127 54.5 440
Salt Lake City Urban Tree, PacifiCorp, USA Urban forestry 1995; USA NA 5 NA
UNSO Arid Savanna Protection, Benin Woody savanna protection, live fences 1993; U.N. Sudano-Sahelian Office 25,000 660-1,000 33
Subtotal Range (or Average) 61 92,059 10,056-10,400 26-440

Carbon Sequestration through Increase in Carbon Stocks: Soil Carbon Management
Project Salicornia, Mexico Halophyte planting, soil carbon 59; 1996; USA 30 (Phase I) 0.89 18
Saskatchewan Soil Enhancement Project, GEMCO, Canada Soil carbon management 5; 1995; Canada  NA  NA  NA 
Subtotal Range (or Average)  32 30  0.89  18 

Emissions Avoidance through Conservation of Existing Stocks: Forest Management and Alternative Harvest Practices
ICSB-NEP 1, Malaysia Reduced-impact logging  40; 1992; USA 1,400  58  41 
ICSB-NEP 2, UtiliTree, Malaysia Reduced-impact logging 40; 1997; USA  1,012  104  102 
Olafo Project-Peten, Guatemala Sustainable timber, sustainable agriculture 40; 1995; Denmark, Norway, Sweden  57,800  4,920  85 
Pacific Forest Stewardship, Oregon, USA Improved forest management, conservation easements  1995; USA NA  242  NA 
Subtotal Range (or Average) 40  60,212  5,324  41-102 

Emissions Avoidance through Conservation of Existing Stocks: Forest Conservation-Protection
Amazon Basin, AES/Oxfam, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru Protection, land tenure  1992; USA 1,500,000  15,000 10 
Paraguay Forest Protection, AES, Paraguay Protection  1992; USA 58,000  14,600  252
ECOLAND, Costa Rica Protection  16; 1995; USA 2,500  366  146 
Rio Bravo, Belize Protection, forest management 40; 1994; USA  14,000 protection; 46,406 forest management   2,400  39
Noel Kempff, Bolivia Protection from logging and deforestation 30; 1996; USA ~696,000 4,000-6,000 7
Protected Area Project, Costa Rica Preservation via purchase and land title enhancement 25; 1997; USA 530,000 4,600-8,900 17
Virilla Basin Project, Costa Rica Protection, reforestation 25; 1997; Norway 52,000 231 4
Subtotal Range (or Average) 27 2,852,500 41,200-47,500 4-252

Multi-Component Community Forest
FACE Profafor, Ecuador Small farmer plantations 1993; The Netherlands 75,000 9,660 129
Sustainable Energy Management, Burkina Faso Community forest management (component II) 30; 1997; Norway 270,000 67 0.2
Subtotal Range (or Average) 30 345,000 9,700 0.2-129

AES CARE, Guatemala Agroforestry, woodlots 35; 1989; USA 186,000 10,500 56
Scolel Te, Mexico Agroforestry, reforestation, sustainable harvesting 30; 1997; UK, France Phase I: 50 Total: 2,000 within 13,000 area Phase I: 15 Total 330 26
Subtotal Range (or Average) 32 186,000-188,000 10,500-10,800 26-56
Grand Total 41 3,535,000-3,537,000 76,780-83,725 23

a Project lifetime (in years); date initiated; investor country.
b Estimated CO2 benefits per hectare and totals for projects are generally reported by project developers, do not use standardized or consistent GHG accounting methods, generally only report CO2 (not other GHGs), and have not been independently reviewed. The wide range of estimates for conservation/protection projects results from the type of activity (e.g., avoided logging or avoided deforestation) and from a large project area with only a fraction affected by the activity per year (see Section 5.2.2).

Major References: Brown et al. (1997), EPA/USIJI (1998), FACE Foundation (1998), Stuart and Moura-Costa (1998), Witthoeft-Muehlmann (1998), Moura-Costa and Stuart (2000).

The 3.5 Mha of projects currently being implemented could eventually total 6.4 Mha if the projects are fully funded. Most of these 3.5 Mha (2.9 Mha, or 83 percent) are in forest land protection or conservation, potentially avoiding emissions or sequestering about 41-48 Mt C if the projects are fully financed and implemented (Table 5-2). Another 92,000 ha (3 percent) are in projects primarily undertaking afforestation, reforestation, or forest restoration, potentially generating an estimated 10 Mt C. Projects involving forest management and alternative silvicultural or harvesting practices occupy about 60,000 ha (less than 2 percent) and may generate about 5.3 Mt C. Multi-component community forestry or agroforestry system projects cover at least 530,000 ha (15 percent) and may provide about 20 Mt C in benefits. Only a few very small projects currently exist for soil carbon management (see Chapter 4).

Carbon sequestration or emissions avoidance per unit area over the reported lifetime of the projects varies by project type from an average of about 110 t C ha-1 for afforestation and reforestation projects, to 88 t C ha-1 for forest management projects, to 40 t C ha-1 for community forestry and agroforestry projects, to a low of 16 t C ha-1 for forest protection projects (mainly from avoided logging), with very large ranges within and across project types (Table 5-2). These averages reflect project designs to date and vary across design, site condition, and implementation conditions.

Emissions avoidance per hectare of forest protection projects, in particular, is highly sensitive to the total project area involved and the activity avoided (e.g., avoided deforestation or avoided logging). These projects generally conserve a large area of forest considered under threat of deforestation at rates of about 1-5 percent of total forest area per year. In the Noel Kempff Climate Action Project (NKCAP), for example, areas where deforestation is expected to be avoided are estimated to generate about 143 t C ha-1 over the life of the project and areas where logging is avoided about 12 t C ha-1; the project overall is estimated to generate about 7 t C ha-1 (because the total project area is large) (Brown et al., 2000). For project components designed solely to avoid deforestation, typical emissions avoidance values are likely to range from 28-80 t C ha-1 for boreal forest to about 30-140 t C ha-1 for temperate and 100-175 t C ha-1 for tropical forests (Brown et al., 1996).

Several models for the design and funding of projects are already being used in many of the projects reviewed in Box 5-1 and Table 5-2:

  • Project funding is provided by investors who are committed to offset their carbon emissions, irrespective of the status of the international climate change negotiations. Monies are provided to a central office which seeks out, designs, and implements projects meeting investor criteria.
  • Entities (e.g., electric utilities) that consider themselves likely to face emissions reduction mandates in the future are implementing their own projects.
  • Project proponents identify and design projects on the basis of expected GHG and non-GHG benefits, then seek funding from donor sources. These projects are developed primarily to mobilize resources for non-climate services (e.g., biodiversity protection by a land management NGO) and to gain experience in project implementation (often reporting under the AIJ pilot program).

Other models are likely to develop as entities seeking certified emissions reductions organize their investments to spread liabilities and risks. One potential trend may be the emergence of flexible derivatives involving brokers, traders, and insurers who trade various attributes of the potential emissions reductions of bundles of projects. Experience using the aforementioned models in the early stages of pilot project implementation has helped produce several advances, including quantifying and monitoring the GHG benefits of a range of project types using the Winrock estimation and monitoring methodology (MacDicken, 1997a); reviewing and refining without-project baseline assumptions in an independent review of the Protected Areas Project (PAP) in Costa Rica (Busch et al., 1999); and addressing ways to minimize leakage in the design and implementation of the NKCAP (Brown et al., 2000).
Several portfolios of projects have been assembled by national, NGO, or private JI or AIJ pilot programs. For example, the FACE Foundation-founded in 1990 by the Dutch Electricity Generating Board-has targeted 150,000 ha of new forest planting in five projects in six countries, to absorb the lifetime CO2 emissions of a coal-fired 600 MW power station. About 40,000 ha had been planted by 1999. The projected carbon benefits are 75 Mt C over the lifetime of the projects. Total estimated, undiscounted costs are $100 million, of which $30 million has been committed, with an estimated unit cost of $8 per t C (FACE Foundation, 1998; Verweij and Emmer, 1998).

The USIJI began in 1993. It has accepted 14 forestry projects and one soil carbon management project as of February 2000. Estimated total carbon benefits over the lifetimes of eight projects in at least initial implementation stages are about 13 Mt C-rising to 25.5 Mt C if the projects are fully funded and implemented-on 1.27 Mha. Total funding committed to date is about $17 million, at an estimated carbon cost of $3.90 per t C (EPA/USIJI, 1998; Table 5-2).

Some projects have been designed that could expand across whole regions. The Scolel Te project in southern Mexico has initiated agroforestry activities on about 150 small farms. If an incentive rate of $15 per t C were available, it could supply 150-200 Mt C over 40 years (de Jong et al, 1997; Tipper et al., 1998).

Projects offer varying rates of carbon benefits over time. Projects summarized in Table 5-2 have reported project lifetimes ranging from 16 to 99 years, averaging 41 years. Forest conservation projects designed to slow deforestation are highly sensitive to estimated baseline assumptions about non-project forest loss rates (see Section 5.3; Busch et al., 1999). These projects appear to deliver carbon benefits quickly relative to other project types, however, by annually avoiding high losses of carbon stocks per hectare of mature forest. Conversely, soil carbon management and afforestation or reforestation projects in boreal forest deliver carbon benefits slowly because carbon sequestration rates in both systems are generally less than 1 t C ha-1 yr-1.

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