Methodological issues in forestry mitigation projects
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Methodological Issues in Forestry Mitigation Projects. Indu K Murthy Centre for Ecological Sciences Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, India. Issues. Climate mitigation through forest sector is a contentious issue Technical, social and political

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Methodological Issues in Forestry Mitigation Projects

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Methodological Issues in Forestry Mitigation Projects

Indu K Murthy

Centre for Ecological Sciences

Indian Institute of Science

Bangalore, India


  • Climate mitigation through forest sector is a contentious issue

    • Technical, social and political

  • Uncertainty associated with GHG emission estimates of biological systems high

  • The uncertainty of estimates of carbon emissions is high in the LUCF sector

    • Problems of definitions

    • Biophysical variations that lead to varied estimates

    • Limitations of methods or availability of multitude of methods to choose from

    • Limitations of data

    • Accounting issues

Inventory Techniques

  • Scientific methods available for estimating C-stock changes in all pools

  • Aboveground biomass

    • Robust field ecological methods available for making estimates of aboveground biomass

      • Plot method adopted 

  • Soil carbon

    • Reliable and feasible methods available

      • Variation due to biophysical factors

      • Difficult to detect small changes over short periods

  • Below ground biomass and woody litter

    • Limited methods available

    • Very little experience w.r.t to BGB

Growth rate of C-pools

  • Serious limitations w.r.t availability of data on growth rates of different C-pools and forestry activities

  • Growth rates available only for certain commercially or economically important forestry species

  • Data for non-commercial forest and horticultural plantation species, naturally regenerating forests and agro-forestry species lacking

  • No database available for BGB & WL

  • Biomass estimation equations restricted to commercially important forest species

Baseline Development

  • Knowledge of historical series of conventional practices in the project area, local socio-economic situation, economic trends that may affect the carbon benefits of a project, and other policy relevant parameters required

  • Determining land-use/land-cover change critical to accurately estimating carbon benefits

  • Sound methods necessary in order to state within a level of confidence, how well land-use/land-cover change is predicted.

    • Updated revenue records not available to analyze current land use

    • In many places, revenue records do not tally with ground reality

Additionality & Leakage

  • Additionality: Not an issue

    • Records available for understanding trends in A&R

    • Plan documents available for projecting future rates of A&R

  • Leakage: Not an issue

    • If in semi-arid zones

    • When wastelands with no or insignificant biomass being considered as potential land categories for project implementation

      • with low or insignificant biomass

      • current dependence of communities low and could be estimated and incorporated into project design


  • Need to develop biomass estimation equations for various species commonly opted by communities and farmers

  • Develop default values for different species across different ecological zones

  • Rate of change of soil carbon density under different situations – forests, plantation, natural regeneration and agro-forestry situations

  • Urgent requirement to enable cost-effective and successful development of forestry mitigation projects

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