Planetary Carbon Sequestration Standard Clauses Interpretation (PCSS)

Clause 5.1 – Interpretation

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Clause 5.2 – Interpretation

Normally baseline refers to,

“The baseline for project activity is the scenario that reasonably represents anthropogenic emissions by sources of GHGs and removal by sinks that would occur in the absence of the proposed project activity”.

Normally, it is assumed that local people will not change their land use by themselves as long as no approach from outside. The change of carbon stock in the baseline scenario will be estimated with the following steps;

(1) Identify land-use cover within the project boundary before the project is implemented.

(2) Project future land-use change within the project boundary under the absence of the project taking into account land-use history and government plan or policy.

(3) Estimate biomass carbon pools of each land use within the project boundary using the best available biomass data before the project is implemented.

(4) Calculate the change in carbon stock using the result of the land use projection describes the step 2 above.


In a very comprehensive manner, the general approach to determining the baseline development can be explained as follows;

1. Define land-use systems and their tenurial status (Site-specific data was used to calculate the initial stock of carbon as climatic conditions, site conditions, species planted and site management can all significantly affect the carbon content of different management systems. Socio-economic indicators and land suitability were also examined while assessing the most likely land use for a project site, as they are important determinants of what land use is).

2. Define the project boundary and prepare a map

3. Select carbon pools and define methods for measurement

4. Develop sampling design and strategy for biomass and soil carbon estimation

5. Lay plots in different land-use systems and measure identified parameters

6. Analyze data for above-ground biomass (AGB) carbon stock, below-ground biomass (BGB) woody litter, dead wood, and soil carbon

7. Assess past and current A&R rates

8. Project future land use and estimate the potential area for the project activities

9. Estimate carbon stocks using area and per ha carbon stock data, for the project area.

Using the selected methodology and considering the above steps the baseline scenario has to be justified using project-specific data. The baseline methodology shall be selected from the methodology book considering the relevance of that methodology.

Sampling Strategy for Baseline

The carbon pools selected for baseline development are aboveground biomass(AGB) and belowground biomass (BGB). The soil organic carbon and deadwood were not included as this was not a major carbon pool under farm forestry. The definition of carbon pools is as defined by the IPCC (2003). Aboveground biomass (AGB): This dominant carbon pool is estimated by the most commonly used plot method. The AGB & BGB, pools were selected for estimating carbon stock changes, since dead wood does not exist. The carbon stocks and growth rates for different pools are measured and estimated.

Clause 5.3 – Interpretation

To demonstrate additionality, it is essential to demonstrate the following:

Identify likely alternative land use project activities (For example - The alternative to the project is dryland agriculture or status quo. Crops such as cotton, chillies and tobacco can be cultivated on these lands or can remain fallow).

• Identify investment options. (For example for the initial three years the farmers have to invest money in plantations. Financial institutions do not extend loans for plantations due to the risk factor. Also funding from international sources is lacking. The alternative to the project, agriculture is easier to adopt due to loan availability from banks and other financial organizations. As mentioned above, finance is a barrier since loans cannot be secured from national and international markets for afforestation and the investment required is high).

Investment barriers.

The main reason that the local people don’t plant trees is the lack of money for forestry investment according to the results of the socio-economic survey conducted in the villages concerned with the project. They can not afford to invest in tree planting in the production of forest land since financial support from the government is very small. It is difficult for individuals to access to loans for forest development since the gestation period of forest development is long and there are risks involved in forest development such as damage to the trees by natural disasters. There are cases in which a private forestry company has invested in plantations, but it is not realistic to expect similar investments in the proposed project area because the proposed project is located in an inland mountainous area and is far from sea ports. Furthermore, the condition of the road from the main road to the proposed project area is not good.

Barriers due to social conditions.

The project area is classified as “production forest land” in the land use plan approved by the local government but the land has not been reforested. One reason is the lack of investment opportunities attractive and affordable to the local people as mentioned in the “investment barrier” above. Other reasons include the widespread practice of free grazing. Even if an individual wishes to plant trees in his allocated land within the project area, it would be difficult to protect the trees from free-grazing animals without the cooperation of other people. The plantation project launched in the past in another area of the village concerned was not successful because of this problem according to the village people.

Barriers due to local ecological conditions.

The project area and its surroundings had been deforested in the 1980s for the expansion of cropland. The intensive cultivation on the slopes without soil erosion measures resulted in land degradation and the land was abandoned by the middle of the 1990s. Since then, the area has been occasionally used for fuel wood collection and free grazing of cattle and buffalo. The owners of the land use rights also sometimes conduct slash-and-burn cultivation of annual crops for a short period and abandon the land after that. Due to soil degradation and the pressure of human activities, the natural regeneration of forest in the degraded grassland is not expected and the area would remain as it is or will be more degraded without tree planting activities.

Because of these barriers, the project area would not be forested without this proposed project, thus the project is additional.

Clause 5.4 (5.4.1 & 5.4.2) – Interpretation

Not all aspects of greenhouse gas mitigation projects will be monitored continuously. Therefore, project performance will need to be extrapolated from the use of indicators of project performance. The reasons for monitoring are as follows;

Monitor the GHG emissions/uptake of the project itself. This information is needed to establish the number of credits generated by the project (by comparing it to the baseline);

· Pre-project monitoring to estimate an appropriate baseline for the project. This may or may not be needed depending on how the baseline for a project is being set up;

· Assess the wider environmental or other impacts of the project (e.g. the importance of carbon leakage and spillover). This information is needed to assess whether or not the number of credits generated by the project represents the actual mitigation effect of the project;

· Ensure (for forestry projects) that the GHG benefits of the project are not reversed, i.e. that if “permanent” credits are generated by LULUCF projects, the sequestration is also permanent;

· Draw lessons ex-post from projects already implemented to provide feedback and insights on how well baselines and other rules in the project cycle are working;

· Determine whether or not the project’s initial baseline can appropriately be extended for a second or third crediting period.

Thus, monitoring will need to be carried out at different points during the development and operation of a GHG mitigation project. Most obviously, monitoring will need to take place during the lifetime of a project to quantify the GHG impact of the project. Such monitoring is likely to need to be carried out regularly, e.g. annually, to obtain a regular flow of emission credits. Monitoring outside the project boundary during the project’s lifetime may also be necessary to assess the importance of leakage. Over time the findings of such an assessment could influence project design and any revisions/updates on rules for eligibility and baselines.

The costs of monitoring project performance will vary by type of project and project design, but are likely to increase with the:

· Number and variety of sources that need to be monitored;

· Frequency of monitoring and reporting;

· Accuracy/confidence level that monitoring should achieve; and the

· Complexity of monitoring methods.

Many methods could be used to monitor carbon sequestration in forestry projects. These include modelling, and deriving estimates from equations and field measurements. These different techniques have different associated costs, and their applicability and/or feasibility may vary with project size. However, to verify the emission mitigation effect of a project, field measurements (“ground-truthing”) will likely play an important role in monitoring and/or verifying changes in carbon stocks from LULUCF projects. The number of sample plots and other field measurements used to monitor changes in carbon stocks has a large influence on the variable costs associated with project monitoring, although fixed costs may be more important (Powell 1999). The number of sample plots used also has an influence on the accuracy and confidence levels with which a project’s mitigation effect can be calculated.

However, preliminary indications are that the cost of sequestering carbon in forests is low. It is indicated that the cost of measuring and monitoring carbon in (large) forestry projects would be less than $0.5 per ton of carbon for precision levels of less than +/- 10% of the mean with 90% confidence. This means that monitoring costs for (large) LULUCF projects could be somewhat higher than for energy/industry projects and still be able to provide a low-cost sequestration potential.

Monitoring Plan

A monitoring plan should include may also be needed in such guidance, e.g.:

· Information on pre-project (baseline) situation. This information will be needed by the Operational entities to calculate the credits generated by a project.

· An outline of the organizational and management requirements for monitoring, such as in which.

· Language data should be recorded, archiving of monitoring data, who is responsible for monitoring project performance, and what (if any) training will be provided to ensure that this monitoring is carried out.

· An indication of monitoring frequency and reporting.

· Explanation of how emission reductions/enhancements due to the project were calculated by using the data monitored with the monitoring methods described (e.g. instructions on how to “translate” monitored project data to GHG emissions).

· What information is likely to be needed for verifying emission credits, for, example, fertilizer application input details documentation of system losses, an indication of project context, etc?

Frequency of Monitoring

The frequency of monitoring that will give an accurate picture of project performance will vary by, and within, the project type. For example, although re/afforestation projects increase below-ground carbon as well as above-ground carbon, increases in below-ground carbon can be both slow and gradual (depending on the species). Periodic (e.g. every 5y) monitoring of below-ground carbon will therefore give an accurate estimation of its accumulation in the years when it is monitored, as well as in the years between monitoring. It will therefore be most cost-efficient, while also remaining environmentally prudent, to monitor such information on a less than annual basis.

Clause 5.5 – Interpretation

To ensure the net anthropogenic GHG removals by sinks to be measured and monitored precisely, credibly, verifiably and transparently, a quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedure will be implemented,

a) Reliable field measurements.

To ensure reliable field measurements, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each step of the field measurements, including all detail phases of the field measurements and provisions of documentation for verification purposes are proposed in this document and they will be adjusted periodically. - Training courses on field data collection and data analyses will be held for persons involved in the field measurement works. The training courses will ensure that each field team member is fully aware of all procedures and the importance of collecting data as accurately as possible.

b) Verification of field data collection

To verify that plots have been installed and the measurements taken correctly, - Randomly selected plots will be re-measured by teams other than those involved in the prior plot measurements - Key re-measurement elements include the location of plots, DBH and tree height. - The re-measurement data will be compared with the original measurement data. Errors assessed in the prior measurements will be corrected and recorded and would be used to calculate the measurement error.

c) Verification of data entry and analysis

To minimize the possible errors in the process of data entry, the entry of both field data and laboratory data will be reviewed by an independent expert team and compared with independent data to ensure that the data are realistic. Communication between all personnel involved in measuring and analyzing data will be used to resolve any apparent anomalies before the final analysis of the monitoring data is completed.

d) Data maintenance and archiving

Data archiving will take both electronic and paper forms, and copies of all data will be provided to each project participant. All electronic data and reports will also be copied on durable media such as CDs and copies of the CDs are stored in multiple locations. The archives include: - Copies of all original field measurement data, laboratory data, and data analysis spreadsheet;

- Estimates of the carbon stock changes in all pools and non-CO2 GHG and corresponding calculation spreadsheets; - GIS products; All the media will be stored at least 5 years after verification.

Clause 5.6 - Interpretation

There is a necessity to write a procedure to manage all project-related records. The records management procedure should cover electronically and manually managed record systems. All project files should be maintained as per this procedure.

Clause 5.7 (5.7.1, 5.7.2 & 5.7.3) – Interpretation

It is important to select a suitable methodology and to justify it to start the calculations /quantifications of GHG sinks using the formulas given in the methodology.

Here the estimation of GHG removals by sinks shall be calculated as per the selected methodology and prepared calculation tables as given in 5 ( r ) above.

For example, normally the project area is stratified. Parameters for initial stratification are tree species (native species) and planting year (to be specified). Assuming in year 4 after plantation the stratification is refined with strata that represent the growth conditions. These are mapped based on a grid of geo-referenced systematically distributed circular temporary sample plots of 100 m2 with a distance of 50 m between every plot. In each plot diameter at breast height (DBH) of every tree is measured. With an allometric formula total volume of the tree is calculated as a function of DBH. The average volume of each plot is then assigned to a growth class. With the help of a GIS computer program with interpolation functionality, a growth map with homogeneous growth conditions is produced.

The final stratification thus separates:

1. Tree species /species group

2. Planting year

3. Growth class

Then using the methodology selected calculate the number of sample plots. Then using the methodology calculates the Carbon Stocks.

Clause 5.7.4 Quantification of Leakage – Interpretation

Leakage estimation

Leakage can be defined as the net change of anthropogenic emissions by sources of GHGs and removal by sinks, which occurs outside the project boundary, and which is measurable and attributable to the project activity (UNFCCC 2002). Leakage can occur through shifting activities from the project site to another area, referred to as primary leakage. Secondary or market leakage also can occur where a project’s outputs create incentives to increase GHG emissions elsewhere. Primary leakage in the project area can be due to shifting in extraction or land-use change.

Clause 5.8- Interpretation

The resulting tVERs at the year of verification tv are calculated as follows for the first crediting period:

ER,t = ∆ C PROJ, t - ∆ C BSL, t - GHG PROJ ,(t) – Lt


ERARCDM,t Total emission reduction by the project (t CO2e/ year)

∆ CBSL,t baseline net GHG removals by sinks (t CO2e/ year)

∆ C PROJ project GHG removals by sinks at time t (t CO2e/ year)

GHG PROJ, (t) project emissions from the use of fertilizers (t CO2e/ year)

Lt total GHG emission due to leakage at the time t (t CO2e)

for subsequent crediting periods Lt= 0 tv

tCER(tv) = Σ ERARCDM,t * ∆t

The above shows the calculation of the tVERs of the project.

The results shall be documented in tabular form as follows:

Clause 5.9- Interpretation

Generally, the environmental impact is positive. Although commercial plantations have less biodiversity than primary forests, the conditions for flora and fauna are much better than in grassland. The trees provide shade and shelter for animals and in the undergrowth, many different plant species can be found. The patches of groups of native trees and pre-existing native trees and the interlaced secondary forests form a mosaic and wildlife corridors which improve the connectivity of habitats of animals and plants.

It is necessary to explain any negative impacts or transboundary impacts based on the type of the species.

For example, transboundary if the plant selected is Teak then the following can be explained.

However, two potentially negative impacts have been identified.

They are both related to the use of Teak:

a) Teak is a non-native tree species: Teak has been planted since the beginning of the 20th Century and is, especially in comparison with other plantation species such as eucalyptus, considered non-invasive. Teak needs humidity as well as extremely high temperatures to germinate. These conditions cannot be obtained in the project region unless the reproduction takes place in artificially created conditions in nurseries and greenhouses.

b) The combination of the large leaves of Teak and low undergrowth may lead to soil erosion. Precious Woods has assessed both aspects and considers the real risks as very low: If teak plantations are not managed carefully, erosion can occur because the large leaves collect water and concentrate its flow on the ground. This problem only occurs when the trees grow so densely that no underbrush or vegetation can develop. This will be prevented with regular thinning and pruning to ensure that the ground vegetation is always dense and diverse.

There are no transboundary impacts.

Clause 5.10 - Interpretation

For example, considering the project an explanation can be given in this manner.

The main socioeconomic impact of the project is related to the generation of employment opportunities for poor rural communities. The project generates jobs permanently as well as for seasonal tasks. The seasonal tasks such as planting, maintenance, harvest, and wood processing will be distributed over several years to offer work opportunities continuously and sustainably instead of concentrating all activities in one big operation. A special focus lies in the generation of employment for local women. The wages paid to workers will be above the local average wage and significantly above the minimum wage in Project Village. The project provides more job opportunities than the previous land use cattle farming. Before the project, most people in the region relied on subsistence agriculture. Especially in this country, there were no job opportunities in the private sector; only a handful of people were employed in public services.

In addition to income and employment to local communities, the project provides training to improve the technical skills of staff and labour. Career opportunities are available for young local people from the project region; also higher positions are occupied by local staff as can be demonstrated.

Clause 5.11 - Interpretation

For example, this can be explained as follows;

The project was presented to the stakeholders in a seminary co-organised by the project authority on October 12, 2005. To that presentation, all local and relevant national stakeholders were invited. The list of invited persons and organizations was put together in cooperation with the relevant project authority of the country (DNA). The list of attending persons can be found in the Annex. Besides the official stakeholder consultation, the project was visited by many local and national interested parties, including the delegates who visited the project at an early stage of the project and showed their approval. The comments received are summarized and the actions initiated for possible comments are also included in the Annex.

Clause 5.12 - Interpretation

No further interpretation is required as this is sufficiently explained in the PCS standard and also it is third-party work done by a professional body to qualify the project.

Clause 5.13 - Interpretation

No further interpretation is required as this is sufficiently explained in the PCS standard and also its third-party work done by a professional body to verify the compliance of the project activities against the PCS requirements to provide an opinion on the quantified VERs.

Clause 5.14 - Interpretation

No further interpretation is required as this is sufficiently explained in the PCS standard and also it is a third-party verification report issued by a professional verification body to verify the compliance of the project activities against the PCS requirements and to provide an official final report covering an opinion on the quantified VERs.

Clause 5.15 - Interpretation

No further interpretation is required as this is sufficiently explained in the PCS standard.

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