13 January 2011 – A new methodology for crediting projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) was approved for use under the VCS Program this week. Developed by environmental consultancy Wildlife Works Carbon, the methodology is the fourth new REDD methodology approved by VCS.

The Wildlife Works methodology offers a user-friendly way to account for greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals from activities that curb deforestation in tropical forests. Specifically, it provides an approach for calculating historical deforestation rates based on historical satellite imagery together with information about external drivers of forest destruction. This could be useful for projects that do not have a complete historical series of full-coverage satellite imagery.

The methodology was developed around the Rukinga project in the semi-arid tropical forest of Kenya, but it can be used more broadly to account for emission reductions in projects throughout the tropics. It was assessed under theVCS Methodology Approval Process, and its approval means that any project may now use it to account for emission reductions or removals and to issue Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) under the VCS Program.

“This approval opens the door to a new approach that could be very useful for many REDD projects as it offers a credible new way to calculate the baseline rate where the historical imagery isn’t perfect,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli. “It’s also remarkable how efficiently Wildlife Works developed this methodology – it was a matter of months, so they’ve definitely set a new bar for efficiency.”

The methodology is called the Methodology for Avoided Mosaic Deforestation of Tropical Forests, and it was reviewed by two independent auditors before being approved for use under the VCS Program. The first independent auditor to review the methodology was DNV. The second was Environmental Services Inc., contracted directly by the VCS Association. Assessment reports and all methodology documents are available on the VCS web site.