Chapter 2 of this Special Report describes the components
of the global carbon cycles and the issues to be considered in accounting for
carbon fluxes to and from the atmosphere.
The IPCC Guidelines (IPCC, 1997) describe a methodology for a comprehensive
approach to measuring "anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks
of greenhouse gases" that is feasible to implement in most nations. These guidelines
include suggested definitions for many important terms and can form a starting
point for reporting compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Article 5.2 and a decision
at COP3 (2/CP.3) states that the "[m]ethodologies for estimating anthropogenic
emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not controlled
by the Montreal Protocol shall be those" in the IPCC Guidelines. A variety of
ill-defined terms and ambiguities may cause problems, however, in putting the
Protocol into operation. There are also other sets of definitions in use nationally
and internationally, such as those suggested by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) for forestry applications and land use (FAO, 1999). Article
5.2 states that where the IPCC Guidelines are not used, "appropriate adjustments
shall be applied according to methodologies agreed upon by the" first COP.
This chapter outlines the generic issues associated with specific definitions
and methodologies that Parties might wish to consider in agreeing on methodologies
in accordance with Articles 5.2 and 7.4. The broad picture in this chapter is
elaborated in subsequent chapters.
A central issue in identifying lands that may fall under Articles 3.3 and 3.4
is the definition of ARD, which in turn is related to the definition of a forest.
Section 2.2 deals with this issue, and Chapter
3 elaborates on it, analyzing the implication of a series of definitional
scenarios. Some activities that take place in forested land but do not fall
within Article 3.3 may be eligible for inclusion under Article 3.4. These options
are further discussed in Chapter 4.
Afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation are usually defined as activities
that change a piece of land between a forested and non-forested state. The IPCC
Guidelines do not provide an explicit definition of a forest. They refer to
the FAO (1993a) usage for the tropics as example categories, but they note that
"[n]ational experts are free, indeed encouraged, to use more detailed characterizations
of ecosystems in their countries." In this section, we first discuss definitions
of a forest because the precise definition used can have a significant effect
on actions that are classified as ARD and thus on measured emissions and sinks
We then discuss alternative definitions of ARD and their relationship with
land use and land-use change. The precise definitions affect which lands are
lands under Article 3.3 activities and which may be considered under Article
3.4. The quantitative implications of different definitional scenarios are described
in detail in Chapter 3; options for additional activities under Article 3.4
are described in Chapter 4.
Alternative definitions abound for some of the fundamental concepts relevant
to the land-use change and forestry (LUCF) sector. For example, a recent survey
(Lund, 1999) listed more than 200 definitions of "forest," 50 definitions of
"a tree," and another 50 definitions of "reforestation." This Special Report
discusses alternative definitions and their merits, demerits, and implications
in a way that is not policy prescriptive. Considering all of the alternative
definitions and their interactions is impossible, however, because the number
of combinations quickly increases beyond practical limits. In selecting definitions
for discussion, we have considered their utility in estimating carbon stocks
and changes in stock in a manner that is relevant to the Kyoto Protocol.