Alternative Approaches to Addressing the Risk of Non-Permanence in Afforestation and Reforestation Projects under the Clean Development Mechanism

Author(s): Brian C. Murray, Christopher S. Galik, Stephen Mitchell, Phil Cottle

Published: November 2012

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Publication Type: Working Paper

Afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects can generate greenhouse gas reduction credits by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through biophysical processes and storing it in terrestrial carbon stocks such as biomass, litter, and soils. One feature of these A/R activities is the possibility of carbon reversal, whereby the stored carbon is subsequently lost though natural disturbances, such as fire and wind, or anthropogenic disturbances such as harvesting. Adequately accounting for carbon reversal under land use, land-use change, and A/R has been a point of ongoing discussion at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties. This report examines alternative approaches to addressing reversals to inform ongoing UNFCCC discussions on the effectiveness and economic and practical feasibility of various approaches.