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Introductory Guide on A/R CDM Project execution- Part 1

Afforestation and reforestation (A/R) is a complex class of CDM with only 27 registered projects across the globe. Out of these, five projects are from India. There are 7 small scale methodologies, 11 large scale methodologies and 2 consolidated methodologies for developing carbon credit projects in the Afforestation/Reforestation scope.

As per my understanding, CDM operates around rules and regulation which are known as Modalities and Procedures in CDM technical terms. Following few paragraphs take you on the tour of A/R CDM project execution. First we need to understand some techy things so that the next part gets easier.

Understand what ‘forest’ is in CDM context

Forests in the CDM context are land areas covered with wooden species that surpass the forest threshold i.e. minimum 10-30% crown cover, minimum height 2-5 m, minimum area 0.05 ha-1.00 ha. Within these margins, national governments have to opt for a specific CDM forest definition.

Specific CDM forest definition of India:

Single minimum tree crowns cover value: 15 %

A single minimum land area value: 0.05 ha

A single minimum tree height value: 2 m

Difference between afforestation and a reforestation

The term afforestation describes- Any woody vegetation on the land has for at least 50 years been below the thresholds adopted by the host country for definition of forest. And the term reforestation describes-   A newly created forest on land that was not forest on 31 December 1989.

Project developers need to prove compliance with the prerequisites of the above definition. (EB 26, Report, “Procedures to demonstrate the eligibility of lands for afforestation and reforestation project activities” version 02)

Where can you develop afforestation/reforestation CDM project?

As discussed in previous point, a project developer can develop A/R CDM project on a land which has not had forest for at least 50 years or on a land which has not been forested on 1990.

Note 1: A/R CDM project cannot be developed on the land area which is already covered with forests (or it can be said that the land area which comes under the definition of forest opted by the host country).

Note 2: Agro-forestry only qualifies if the proposed project activity resulted in conversion of long term non-forest land to forests. Enrichment plantations/ agro-forestry cash crops/forest conservation measures do not qualify under the modalities and procedures for CDM.

Identify and select most adequate methodology

A/R CDM methodologies are the most comprehensive guidelines to design and develop the carbon sink project. It has detailed procedures with different necessary formals which helps in GHG sink calculations.

Key contents of the A/R CDM methodology are:

  1. The applicability criteria: It describes the conditions e.g. Current land use under which the corresponding methodology can be utilized.
  2. The baseline methodology: Baselines is the concept that describe the conditions without the proposed project scenario i.e. the conditions prior to the project operation. Baseline methodology helps to estimate Green House Gas (GHG) removals that would have occurred in the absence of the project within the defined project boundaries.
  3. The monitoring methodology: It mainly describes the sampling design and stratification in order to estimate the project’s net GHG removal by sinks. In forestry project, it is difficult to take all the living biomass in account for the calculation. Therefore the statistical methods can be incorporate to assess and compute GHG sink (Carbon sequestration by plants). Monitoring methodology assist the project developer to calculate net carbon sink by the growing forest in the well defined project boundary.

Following table shows the list of registered A/R CDM projects in India and the projects under the validation stage.

Registered A/R CDM Projects in India

Registered AR CDM projects – India- As on May 2011

Projects under the validation

AR CDM Projects under the validation-India -As on May 2011

Need detailed information on the methodologies and GHG sink calculation? Please wait for  our upcoming post.

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