, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 477-493
Date: 08 Feb 2007

An incentive mechanism for reducing emissions from conversion of intact and non-intact forests

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Abstract

This paper presents a new accounting mechanism in the context of the UNFCCC issue on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, including technical options for determining baselines of forest conversions. This proposal builds on the recent scientific achievements related to the estimation of tropical deforestation rates and to the assessment of ‘intact’ forest areas. The distinction between ‘intact’ and ‘non intact’ forests used here arises from experience with satellite-based deforestation measurements and allows accounting for carbon losses from forest degradation. The proposed accounting system would use forest area conversion rates as input data. An optimal technical solution to set baselines would be to use historical average figures during the time period from 1990 to 2005. The system introduces two different schemes to account for preserved carbon: one for countries with high forest conversion rates where the desired outcome would be a reduction in their rates, and another for countries with low rates. A ‘global’ baseline rate would be used to discriminate between these two country categories (high and low rates). For the hypothetical accounting period 2013–2017 and considering 72% of the total tropical forest domain for which data are available, the scenario of a 10% reduction of the high rates and of the preservation of low rates would result in approximately 1.6 billion tCO2 of avoided emissions. The resulting benefits of this reduction would be shared between those high-rate countries which reduced deforestation and those low-rate countries which did not increase their deforestation over an agreed threshold (e.g., half of “global” baseline rate).