Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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5.3. Issues Arising from the Implementation of Projects

5.3.1. Project Boundary

Adequate determination of the physical and conceptual project boundaries is one of the critical steps in project design and implementation. The choice of accounting boundary influences the carbon credit that can be assigned to a project. It can also raise carbon accounting problems, particularly with regard to the relationship between project and national accounting.

Estimates of project impacts on carbon stocks may be limited at one extreme to aboveground vegetation within the geographical area of the project. At the other extreme, "total carbon" accounting may be used to include not only below-ground vegetation and soils on the project site but also the effects of wood products, fossil fuel substitution, and other changes at the national or even the international level. Because of these accounting problems, assessments of project impact should provide explicit details about the spatial, temporal, and conceptual boundaries used. Examples of carbon stocks and emission sources that may not always be captured within project boundaries include the following:

  • Emissions associated with preparation of land prior to the official start of a project
  • Emissions or removals of GHGs associated with the use of harvested timber
  • Emissions associated with project development (car and air transport, machinery use, etc.)
  • Fossil fuel emissions avoided through the use of biomass fuels as substitutes for energy production.

Decisions will have to be made about the level of standardization required for boundary-setting in projects. The cost implications of extending project boundaries to include many secondary effects could be significant.

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