Development of regional climate mitigation baseline for a dominant agro-ecological zone of Karnataka, India

  • P. Sudha
  • D. Subhashree
  • H. Khan
  • G. T. Hedge
  • I. K. Murthy
  • V. Shreedhara
  • N. H. RavindranathEmail author
Original Paper


Setting a baseline for carbon stock changes in forest and land use sector mitigation projects is an essential step for assessing additionality of the project. There are two approaches for setting baselines namely, project-specific and regional baseline. This paper presents the methodology adopted for estimating the land available for mitigation, for developing a regional baseline, transaction cost involved and a comparison of project-specific and regional baseline. The study showed that it is possible to estimate the potential land and its suitability for afforestation and reforestation mitigation projects, using existing maps and data, in the dry zone of Karnataka, southern India. The study adopted a three-step approach for developing a regional baseline, namely: (i) identification of likely baseline options for land use, (ii) estimation of baseline rates of land-use change, and (iii) quantification of baseline carbon profile over time. The analysis showed that carbon stock estimates made for wastelands and fallow lands for project-specific as well as the regional baseline are comparable. The ratio of wasteland Carbon stocks of a project to regional baseline is 1.02, and that of fallow lands in the project to regional baseline is 0.97. The cost of conducting field studies for determination of regional baseline is about a quarter of the cost of developing a project-specific baseline on a per hectare basis. The study has shown the reliability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of adopting regional baseline for forestry sector mitigation projects.


Regional baseline Project-specific baseline Mitigation projects Transaction cost Carbon stocks India 



This work was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Atmospheric Programs through the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02–05CH11231. Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or the Environmental Protection Agency. The authors would also like to thank the Ministry of Environment and Forests for supporting and encouraging the research activities on climate change at the Indian Institute of Science. We also thank Jayant Sathaye and Ken Andrasko for their contribution at various stages of development of this study. This project was conducted under the USEPA-Ministry of Environment and Forests support.


  1. Benitez P, Olschewski R et al (2001) Analisis costobeneficio de usos del suelo y fijacion de carbono en sistemas forestales de Ecuador noroccidental, EschbornGoogle Scholar
  2. Chomitz KM (1998) Baselines for greenhouse gas reductions: Problems, precedents, solutions, Report prepared for the Carbon Offsets Unit, World Bank, Development Research Group, World BankGoogle Scholar
  3. Davidson EA (1995) Spatial covariation of soil organic carbon, clay content, and drainage class at a regional scale. Landsc Ecol 10(6):349–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. de Jong Ben HJ (2001) Uncertainties in estimating the potential for carbon mitigation of forest management. For Ecol Manage 154:85–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eswaran H, Van den Berg E et al (1995) Global soil carbon resources. In: Lal R, Kimble JM et al. (eds), Advances in soil science: soils and global change, 1995. Lewis Publishers, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  6. FAO (1976) A framework for land evaluation. FAO Soils Bulletin 32Google Scholar
  7. FAO (1984) Land evaluation for forestry. FAO forestry paper 48. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  8. FSI (1996) Volume equations for forests of India, Nepal and Bhutan, Forest Survey of India MoEaF, Government of India, 1996Google Scholar
  9. Hargrave T, Helme N et al (1998) Options for simplifying baseline setting for joint implementation and clean development mechanism projects, Center for Clean Air PolicyGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaimowitz D, Angelsen A (1998) Economic models of tropical deforestation: a review, Center for International Forestry Research. Bogor, IndonesiaGoogle Scholar
  11. Kern JS, Turner DP et al (1998) Spatial patterns in soil organic carbon pool size in the Northwestern United States. In: Lal R, Kimbal JM et al (eds) Soil processes and the carbon cycle. CRC Press,Boca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  12. Kimble JM, Eswaran H et al (1991) Organic carbon on a volume basis in tropical and temperate soils. In trans. Int. Congr. Soil Sci. 14th, Soc soil Science. 1991. Kyoto, Japan, Vol. 5: pp 248–253Google Scholar
  13. KSLUB (2001) Perspective land use plan for Karnataka – 2025 In. Karnataka State Land Use Board, Bangalore, KarnatakaGoogle Scholar
  14. Lambin EF, Baulies X et al (1999) Land-use and land-cover change implementation strategy In. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  15. Masera O, Garza-Caligaris JF et al (2001) Modeling carbon sequestration in afforestation and forest management projects: The CO2fix V.2 Approach. Ecol Model 164(2003):177–199Google Scholar
  16. Nabuurs GJ, Garza-Caligaris JF et al (2001) CO2FIX V2.0—Manual of a model for quantifying carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems and wood products. ALTERRA Report. Wageningen The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  17. NRSA (1995) Report on area statistics of land use/land cover generated using remote sensing techniques, National Remote Sensing Agency, Department of Space. HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  18. NRSA (2004) Atlas of wastelands map of India, National Remote Sensing Agency, Department of Space. HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  19. Paladina L, Pontius GR Jr (2004) Accuracy assessment and uncertainty in baseline projections for land-use change and forestry projects.∼rpontius/paladino_pontius_2004_ties.pdfGoogle Scholar
  20. Parkinson S, Begg K et al (2001) Accounting for flexibility against uncertain baselines: lessons from case studies in the eastern European energy sector. Climate policy 1:55–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Paul KI, Polglase PJ et al (2002) Change in soil carbon following afforestation. For Ecol Manage 168:241–257Google Scholar
  22. Post WM, Izaurralde RC et al (2001) Monitoring and verifying changes for organic carbon in soil. Clim Chang 51:73–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sathaye JA, Meyers S et al (1995) Greenhouse gas mitigation assessment: A guidebook. Kluwer Academic PublishersGoogle Scholar
  24. Sehgal J, Mandal DK et al (1992) Agro-ecological regions of India (2nd ed.) In Tech.Bull. NBSS Publ., 24. Oxford & IBH Publication Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi and NBSS&LUP, Nagpur. 130Google Scholar
  25. Sommer A, Murray B et al (2004) Project specific or performance-standard baseline? Testing the alternatives for a forest carbon sequestration project. In the 3rd DOE carbon sequestration conference, May 3–6, 2004. 2004. Alexandria, Virginia Google Scholar
  26. UNFCCC (2002) Methodological issues land use, land-use change and forestry: Definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation activities under article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol in the first commitment period: Options paper on modalities for addressing baselines, additionality and leakage. 2002Google Scholar
  27. WRI/WBCSD (2003) The greenhouse gas protocol: Project quantification standard, in Road test draft (September 2003). 2003Google Scholar
  28. World Resources Institute WRI, Mitigating climate change through forest and land use activities, 1999. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Sudha
    • 1
  • D. Subhashree
    • 1
  • H. Khan
    • 1
  • G. T. Hedge
    • 1
  • I. K. Murthy
    • 1
  • V. Shreedhara
    • 2
  • N. H. Ravindranath
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Indian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Karnataka State Remote Sensing Application CentreBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations