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Research Report

Review of existing methods for carbon accounting

David Neil Bird
Naomi Pena
Hannes Schwaiger
Giuliana Zanchi
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2010
Pages: 50
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    Forests are sources of biomass that can be used to create forest-based bioenergy, by establishing energy plantations on non-forestland, by using existing forest resources or by using residues from harvesting for non-bioenergy purposes. If created in a sustainable manner, this bioenergy can have significant positive greenhouse gas benefits. However, past experience provides strong reason to believe that significant bioenergy development will come at the expense of natural forests, either directly, through conversion of forests to non-forestland, or indirectly, through competition between land uses. Bioenergy development may increase the demand for agricultural land; if such land is sourced from tropical forests....

  2. (pp. 2-10)

    The IPCC methodology is designed to calculate the emissions and removals from land use and land use change for a national inventory. As it does not aim to estimate the benefits of a project or an activity, the IPCC methodology does not discuss additionality, baselines or leakage. However, these concepts are important in assessing the climate change mitigation potential of project activities, including sustainable forest-based bioenergy.

    A very important aspect of the IPCC methodology is its treatment of emissions from the use of biomass for bioenergy. In particular, CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass for energy are not accounteds...

  3. (pp. 11-22)

    In this example, we investigate the carbon stock changes when grassland in South Africa is converted to Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) for the purpose of creating biomass for combustion. It is assumed that the plantation is near Pietermaritzburg (29°36S 30°26′E, average temperature 18.5°, annual rainfall 844 cm; South African Weather Service 2009).

    A typical harvest rotation for Acacia mearnsii is 10 years. Therefore, the forest or plantation area is 10 ha with 1 ha planted each year for 10 years so that there is a constant biomass output at harvest in year 10. This is the same as the movings...

  4. (pp. 23-28)

    In this paper, we identified 4 methodologies for estimating the carbon stock changes from land use change. Three of the methodologies are taken from the 2006 IPCC Guidelines, which adopts a tiered approach: the lowest tier (Tier 1) uses default parameters for the estimation and a simplified methodology; the middle tier (Tier 2) uses in general the same methodology but with national or regional data to make the estimate; and the highest tier (Tier 3) makes use of complicated carbon flow models that are parameterised with regionally specific information. In addition, there are slight variations on this general approach depending...