2.2.3. Afforestation, Reforestation, and Deforestation
Afforestation and reforestation both refer to establishment of
trees on non-treed land. Reforestation refers to establishment of forest on
land that had recent tree cover, whereas afforestation refers to land that has
been without forest for much longer. A variety of definitions differentiate
between these two processes. Some definitions of afforestation are based on
phrases such as "has not supported forest in historical time;" others refer
to a specific period of years and some make reference to other processes, such
as "under current climate conditions." The IPCC Guidelines define afforestation
as the "planting of new forests on lands which, historically, have not contained
Some definitions emphasize a change in land-cover or land-use designation-for
example, "The establishment of a forest or stand in an area where the preceding
vegetation or land use was not forest" (Helms, 1998)-although this definition
could equally fit many definitions of reforestation (see below).
If afforestation and reforestation are defined in similar terms-distinguished
only by the period of time that the land was without forest-then the actual
time cut-off between them does not matter. Article 3.3 deals with afforestation
and reforestation activities in exactly the same way. Other issues, however,
affect the application of these terms. These issues relate to the sequence of
human activities prior to, and the actual mode of establishment of, new trees.
These issues are discussed in Section 126.96.36.199. The important
point, however, is that if both actions are treated equivalently in terms of
accounting, their precise distinction is not important for the implementation
of the Protocol.