VII – Neo Forestry Carbon Standard

Neo Forestry Carbon Standard

The final objective of this research is to build a Neo Forestry Carbon Standard (NFCS) using the best approaches from all standards. The new standard will be based on this review and will also help to highlight the best aspects of the standards.

It is worth noting that NFCS uses a similar approach as the American Carbon Registry which developed a new standard referring to tools from existing standards. Although ACR allows several options to develop a project, NFCS will only choose the tool that responds the best to a criterion.

It is not possible to expand the tools in this research as each tool is usually between 5 to 20 pages which make it unpractical in this situation. The reader is invited to access the tools by following the references.

Afforestation/ Reforestation          Score: 5

As most of the standards, NFCS accepts afforestation, reforestation and improved forest management projects.

REDD         Score: 5

As all standards but CarbonFix, NFCS accepts REDD projects.

Location             Score: 5

NFCS will use the CarbonFix approach that accepts projects anywhere in the world and contacts the local DNA if a project is located in an Annex I country to avoid double counting.

Additionality           Score: 5

NFCS will accept the CDM additionality tool (CDM Executive Board) just as VCS, CCBS and CarbonFix.

In addition, NFCS will provide the ACR additionality tool (American Carbon Registry, 2009b) which must pass three tests:

Regulatory Surplus test: a project must prove that the reductions go beyond any regulations

Common Practice test: a project, technology or practice cannot be widespread in the region

Implementation barrier test (at least one barrier must exist):

  • Financial barrier: carbon finance is the only reason to make the project viable
  • Technological barrier: the primary reason for the use of the technology is to reduce carbon emissions at the start of the project
  • Institutional barrier: provide evidence of organizational, cultural or social barriers for the implementation of the project.

Methodology Approved            Score: 5

The most complete and efficient methodology for afforestation, reforestation and improved forest management is used by CarbonFix (CarbonFix, 2009a).

The baseline approach is that trees can only be planted in areas where no forest has existed 10 years prior to the start of the project. Or, evidence that force majeure destroyed a forest and carbon finance is needed to replant the forest. Accepted evidence includes satellite images, aerial photographs, official maps or land-use records.

The methodology provides tools and detailed guidelines to forest management, environment aspects, socioeconomic aspects, CO2-fixation, baseline, leakage, compensation activities, capacities and land & CO2 tenure.

In addition, there are templates for every aspect of the methodology which makes it very easy to complete, along with assisting and background documents.

The methodology has been built with the project developed and buyer in mind so that the language is easy to understand with a logical assessment that doesn’t compromise quality in the delivery of a carbon credit. Videos are also available for project developers and brokers.

The best methodology for REDD projects is VCS as it provides adaptable tools. VCS approved a methodology per module (Avoided Deforestation Partners, 2009), making it easier for the project developer to adapt the methodology to the reality of the project. Each module will provide tools to calculate a specific part of the project (i.e. baseline, carbon sequestration for different types of ecosystems, leakage, etc…). The project developer will not need to develop a full methodology if the existing one does not match adequately the specifications of the new project. The project developer will simply develop a new module and add the other modules reducing the costs and time for verification.

Permanence           Score: 5

NFCS will use CarbonFix solution to guarantee permanence (CarbonFix, 2009a). VCS has developed a very detailed tool to calculate the correct risk of permanence, however CarbonFix provides simple and direct rules guaranteeing permanence.

Several check points (management, financial, technical and protective capacity) are in place to make sure that the risk of non-permanence is reduced as much as possible. As there is always a small risk, any shortfall should be compensated by planting more trees or with other project activities within these projects or other CarbonFix projects. In case of total project failure, the CarbonFix buffer will be used. Every project needs to allocate 30% of the carbon reductions in a carbon pool.

In addition, project developers should sign the Project Implementation Agreement as used by CCAR which states that the carbon must remain sequestered for at least 100 years.

Leakage         Score: 5

NFCS will use VCS to deal with leakage.

Any leakage must be identified, quantified and discounted from the amount of carbon credits being sold using the “Tool for AFOLU Methodological Issues” (V-C-S, 2008a). Leakage is assumed zero for projects with less than 10,000ha.

For avoiding planned deforestation, the activities of those responsible for a planned deforestation will be monitored and discounted according to any leakage that has occurred. For example, if a farmer buys new rights and cut trees elsewhere, this will need to be discounted.

REDD projects preventing illegal logging activities should firstly assess if this affects the supply of regional or national timber markets and if so, discount the respective leakage.

Co-benefits      Score: 5

The co-benefits will be assessed using CCBS methodology as it is the most comprehensive methodology to quantify co-benefits from any other standard.

The co-benefits accounted are:

– Socio-economic and cultural factors: information about communities including wealth, age, gender, ethnicity, in addition the identification of Indigenous Peoples and a description of community characteristics. Furthermore, a description of land rights in the protected zone and the formal identification of any land dispute over the last ten years.

– Biodiversity factors: description of current species diversity and ecosystems as well as threats to that biodiversity. Evaluation of High Conservation Values (HCVs) such as protected areas, threatened species and endemic species in any area that temporarily supports a high concentration of biodiversity due to migrations, breeding areas or feeding grounds. Other factors include, threatened, rare or critical ecosystems; areas that provide basic needs for local communities such as food, fuel, medicines or building materials.  It also includes areas that are essential for the cultural identity of a local community, for example areas that have religious, ecologic, cultural or economical significance to local communities.

Registry         Score: 5

NFCS will follow the VCS registry strategy which centralizes the information from three different registries (APX, TZ1 and Caisse Depot) avoiding double counting and promoting competition between the registries improving their services (speed, costs, user friendly and customer service).

Transparency       Score: 5

NFCS will use the same approach as CarbonFix because it is the most transparent standard. All projects must pass a 30 days public consultation on the NFCS website. Each project will have a website where it is possible to find the project design documentation, validation and verification report. A section for pictures, Google maps location, news and comments area, carbon credit serial numbers, executive summary, history of the project, project developer information and how to visit the project are included.

ICROA       Score: 5

NFCS will have to be accepted by ICROA, so traders are able to sell credits to all the market.

US Market         Score: 5

NFCS will have to be greatly accepted in the US market.

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