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Comparison of methods for the measurement and assessment of carbon stocks and carbon stock changes in terrestrial carbon pools

What is the aim of the review?
To examine how current systems and methods compare in their ability to measure and assess terrestrial carbon stocks and changes in carbon stocks with accuracy, precision and reliability.

Land use and land cover changes, including legal and illegal deforestation, are amongst the most important factors that contribute to the social and environmental challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. Deforestation alone is responsible for about 12% of the world's anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, whereas another 6% stems from peat oxidation and fires on degraded peatland areas (Van der Werf et al., 2009). The combined effects of logging and forest regrowth on abandoned land are responsible for 10-25% of global human-induced emissions (Achard et al., 2002; Gullison et al., 2007). Annual emissions from deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil equal four-fifths of the annual reduction target of the Kyoto Protocol (Santilli et al., 2005).

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the REDD+ instrument (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), as agreed at COP-16 of the UNFCCC in December 2010, will alter the situation for developing countries.

This means that, potentially, all forest resources in developing countries are subject to accountable mitigation actions. The Cancun agreement also stipulates that robust and transparent national monitoring systems of the above mitigation activities shall be developed. As a consequence, for the implementation of REDD+, it is crucial to determine the spatio-temporal variation of carbon stocks. Obtaining field measurements and developing estimation models to do so is an expensive and time-consuming task.

This systematic review will compare methods of measuring carbon stocks and carbon stock changes in all primarily vegetated land use and land cover types, e.g., forest, croplands, wetlands, pastures, agroforestry systems (FAO, 2005), and all major terrestrial carbon pools (soil including peat, deadwood, litter, above and below-ground biomass).

Who's in the review team?

At what stage is the review?
The review protocol has now been finalised and the review is underway. Please check this page again soon for further progress updates.

If you would like to comment on any aspect of this review, please email us. Your feedback is appreciated.

Document Links

- Protocol pdf

- Flyer pdf

Visit the project's webpage at the UN-REDD website.

Tropical forest landscape


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