Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Modeling REDD-baselines using IDRISI's LCM - Introduction


Initiatives to implement REDD at the site level require the development of a reference scenario of greenhouse gas emissions. This is an estimate of the probable emissions rate throughout a REDD project period if the project were not to be implemented. This must be calculated for the project area as well as the surrounding leakage area. During project implementation, the actual emissions are monitored in both areas and compared to the reference scenario emissions to calculate the creditable emissions reductions.

Several methods for estimating reference emissions levels have been proposed to the Voluntary Carbon Standards (VCS) group, and all require modeling future emissions based on historical trends in rates and relationships between deforestation patterns and drivers of deforestation. One of the first methodologies submitted to VCS for review is the Mosaic methodology, submitted by the World Bank BioCarbon Fund. As part of this submission, the application of this methodology for the Mantadia REDD site in Madagascar was provided by Conservation International (CI) and Clark Labs at Clark University.

The steps include:

1) Definition of the spatial and temporal boundaries of the project, including the project site and leakage area.

2) Estimation of historical deforestation rates and patterns over at least three time periods covering at least 10 years, the first period used to calibrate the spatial model and the second period to validate it.

3) Projection of the future deforestation rate for the study area, which may be different from the historical rate, given assumptions of population change and infrastructure development.

4) Spatial modeling to determine the patterns of the potential for deforestation, based on the relationships between historical deforestation patterns and spatial variables that characterize land access and suitability.

5) Spatial modeling of deforestation patterns for the validation period, based on (3) and (4).

6) A comparison of the estimated and actual deforestation rates inside vs outside of the project area, in order to validate the model’s ability to estimate the amount of deforestation that will occur inside the project site.

7) Spatial modeling of deforestation patterns for each reporting period throughout the project duration.

8) Combination of the deforestation projection and data on biomass to estimate GHG emissions over each reporting period, for comparison with actual emissions estimates to be produced during the project-monitoring phase of the project.

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