Verra has released its new Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation methodology in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. VM0047 Methodology for Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation enables the generation of high-quality nature-based removal credits from activities that increase the density of trees or other types of woody vegetation. It is the first forestry methodology in the voluntary carbon market that allows for the use of a dynamic performance benchmark approach and relies on remote sensing data to establish a project’s baselines and test its additionality. This demonstrates Verra’s commitment to continuous improvement of methodologies in the VCS Program.
VM0047 offers two quantification approaches:
- Area-based approach: This approach uses plot-based sampling and a remote sensing-enabled dynamic performance benchmark. The project area is matched to a set of similar control plots. Subsequently, the rate of vegetative cover change in the project and control areas is compared. This comparison is used to test additionality and establishes the crediting baseline at every verification.
- Census-based approach: This approach applies to smaller projects where a full census of plantings is feasible and projects do not impact land use or land cover in a contiguous area of more than one hectare. This approach is best suited to dispersed planting activities (e.g., urban forestry, agroforestry, shelterbelts, revegetation that does not meet the forest definition). Under this approach, additionality is demonstrated by establishing a project-case and alternative baseline scenario. The baseline is set at zero (i.e., the assumption is that the establishment of trees or other vegetation is unlikely in the absence of the project) if the project meets pre-set, conservative criteria.
VM0047 was developed with an accompanying module, VMD0054 Module for Estimating Leakage from ARR Activities. Projects using VM0047 must account for leakage using VMD0054. Currently, the module may not be used with any other VCS methodology.
Verra authored the methodology and module with support from two contractors, TerraCarbon (external) and Silvestrum (external), with contributions from Kyle S. Hemes and the ABACUS Working Group, in accordance with the VCS Methodology Development and Review Process, v4.3 (PDF).
Grace Period for Projects Using CDM Methodologies AR-ACM0003 or AR-AMS-0007
VM0047 will replace CDM methodologies AR-ACM0003 Afforestation and reforestation of lands except wetlands and AR-AMS0007 Afforestation and reforestation project activities implemented on lands other than wetlands.
Projects that plan to use either CDM methodology or are “under development” using the AR-ACM0003 or AR-AMS0007 must be listed with a status of “under validation” within three months of October 3, 2023. All projects using these CDM methodologies that have not completed validation must complete validation within 15 months of October 3, 2023.
On October 12 at 1:00 pm ET, Verra will host a webinar to provide an overview of the VM0047 Methodology for Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation. Speakers will include representatives from Verra and TerraCarbon who collaborated on the methodology development.
One of the distinct advantages of Verra’s ARR methodology is the flexibility to utilize either or both of these accounting approaches within a project. However, it is important to note that project areas must not overlap. The area-based approach is best suited for larger projects, while the census-based approach offers a practical solution for small landowners whose projects can be consolidated.