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Open source forest accounting methodology for REDD projects developed

Rainforest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Rainforest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Avoided Deforestation Partners, a forest conservation group, has coordinated the development of an “open source” forest carbon accounting methodology that could help speed projects aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. The group says the new protocols could substantially reduce the cost of establishing forest carbon conservation projects under the REDD mechanism. Carbon accounting and methodology costs can easily top $100,000, making it difficult for small projects to win certification.

“These modules offer a system for those who cannot afford the cost of developing tailor-made carbon accounting protocols for their forest protection projects,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners (ADP), in a statement. “In addition to eliminating such costs, project developers can hit the ground running.”

ADP says the new methodologies enable developers add on to their projects using a pre-defined set op approved modules. In other words, a carbon project could incorporate factors like accounting for aboveground and belowground biomass, leakage or displacement of deforestation to other areas, and forest monitoring without having to seek validation a methodology each factor individually. The process would save time and money, while ensuring that forest carbon offset credits are “real, measurable, verifiable and permanent,” in the words of Peter Darbee, CEO, President and Chairman of PG&E Corporation, a California energy company that plans to offset a portion of its emissions through REDD credits.

ADP’s open source methodology has been under development for two and a half years and has been approved by the Verified Carbon Standard, a carbon accounting audit body. The effort was coordinated by Charlotte Streck and Robert O’Sullivan of Climate Focus. Tim Pearson and Sandra Brown of Winrock International drafted the methodology with input from Lucio Pedroni of Carbon Decisions International, Dr. Igino Emmer of Silvestrum, and David Shoch of TerraCarbon.

Supporters of REDD believe a properly designed mechanism could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation while generating benefits for forest-dependent people.

Deforestation and forest degradation account for roughly 10 percent of global carbon emissions.

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