This project seeks to:

  • Develop an inventory methodology that will reduce development and implementation costs, lowering barriers to entry to carbon markets for small to mid-size forest and range landowners. This will include a proof of concept pilot testing with the assistance of collaborating organizations.
  • Develop analytical and reporting tools to standardize and streamline verification, reducing verification costs. These tools will also be road tested through pilot testing.
  • Demonstrate the efficacy and cost reduction of the developed methodology and tools through application via pilot testing.

Development of the inventory methodology as well as the analytical and reporting tools will be primarily handled by the Climate Action Reserve. Design of the inventory methodology will build off of the institutional knowledge gained through the implementation of the California Cap-and-Trade program to craft a methodology that will be statistically robust and cost efficient for both implementation and verification. Additional tools for the streamlining of monitoring, reporting, and verification processes will be based on past experience with offset project registration through the Reserve as well as targeted consultation with expert stakeholders.  Success for this CIG is defined as the submission of new small to mid-sized forest projects to the California cap-and-trade program.

The development of an inventory methodology is a long process as it must incorporate multiple considerations with significant associated conditions. For example, the inventory methodology must provide a standardized method of locating and establishing plots in a randomized manner that both minimizes the labor cost while maximizing statistical accuracy. Further, once a method for locating and establishing plots is developed, the methodology must provide the explicit instructions around plot monumentation and a step by step process for taking measurements on the plot itself, with a wide range of feasible and accepted forest practices available. The Reserve’s depth of knowledge in reviewing numerous unique inventory methodologies provides a strong foundation from which to develop a cost efficient and statistically sound methodology that is applicable across all forest project profiles.

The data management and analytical tools will automate calculations of carbon inventories, annual inventory updates, and required reports submitted to the oversight body, whether compliance-based or voluntary.  The suite of analytical tools will be managed by the Reserve and made available to users at no cost.  The methodology and reporting tools will set the standard of accuracy, be highly transparent, and therefore, improve verification efficiency.

Key Project Elements

Project Location: The standardized inventory approach will benefit forest carbon projects throughout the United States.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGe) Reduction Goal: at least 3,000,000 metric tons of CO2e
Emission Source Targeted: CO2 is targeted for both reduced emissions and enhancements through increased carbon stocks in forests and harvested wood products.
GHGe Quantification Method:  Emissions reductions and enhancements will be quantified according to the Climate Action Reserve’s Forest Carbon Protocol and the California Air Resources Board Compliance Forest Protocol.  The protocol aims to standardize a quantification methodology and develop monitoring tools relevant to both protocols.
Engagement Level: The project could result in hundreds of additional landowners, representing many thousands of acres, engaging in forest carbon projects.  Much of the response will depend on market signals for additional/ongoing demand for forest carbon offsets.
Crop(s) Targeted:  Emissions reductions and removals will be developed from forests and wood products.
Technology Required: The standardized methodology will require users to operate and engage in Microsoft Access and Visual Basic for Applications.
Protocols/Methodologies Engaged:  The forest inventory methodologies and reporting tools will be developed to satisfy requirements for the Climate Action Reserve’s Forest Carbon Protocol and the California Air Resources Board Compliance Protocol.

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to increase participation in California’s cap and trade market among small and medium-size forest landowners. Under this project, the Reserve will develop a highly standardized inventory methodology and provide data management and reporting tools, which is anticipated to reduce implementation barriers for forest carbon projects.