188.8.131.52. Forest Degradation
Although the term forest degradation is sometimes used in forestry, existing
definitions are generally inadequate to capture actions that change carbon stocks
because they lack specificity. These definitions commonly refer to reductions
in the productive capacity of the forest. As an example, the FAO definition
states "Changes within the forest class that negatively affect the stand or
site and, in particular, lower the production capacity. Thus, degradation is
not reflected in the estimates of deforestation" (FAO, 1995b).
If the forest definition adopted for the Protocol includes relatively sparse
forests (woodlands), considerable amounts of carbon could be removed from a
dense forest while the remnant land cover remains within the strict definition
of a forest. These actions would not constitute deforestation and thus need
not be reported under Article 3.3. We note however, that such actions could
be captured as "additional human-induced activities related to.the LUCF categories"
of Article 3.4, if the Parties so decide. Furthermore, provided the accounting
rules for Articles 3.3 and 3.4 are identical (see Section
184.108.40.206), whether a clearing activity is classified as deforestation (Article
3.3) or as degradation (Article 3.4) would have no influence on the Protocol's
outcome. Chapter 3 discusses some definitional scenarios
that may capture such activities.
220.127.116.11. Forest Aggradation
Forest management can lead to increased carbon stock on a site-the opposite
of degradation. This aggradation can occur, for example, through increases in
the density or average size of trees in a stand. Where the change in total carbon
stocks can be attributed to human actions, Parties may decide to include such
changes under Article 3.4 (see Section 4.4.5).
We note, however, that attributing cause from among directly human-induced change
(e.g., as a result of improved silviculture), indirect influences (e.g., nitrogen
or CO2 fertilization), and natural causes (including natural successional processes)
generally will be difficult. Section 2.4 discusses some
methods that assist in distinguishing the increment that results from the activity
from background increase.