WASHINGTON, DC – October 3, 2023 | Verra, the world’s leading standards setter for climate action and sustainable development, announced today its new Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation (ARR) methodology in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. This methodology is for activities anywhere in the world that increase the density of trees or other types of woody vegetation.
VM0047 Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation is the first methodology in the voluntary carbon market that allows for the use of dynamic performance benchmarks and relies on remote sensing data to establish a project’s baselines and test its additionality.
VM0047 offers two key 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). Additionality is demonstrated by establishing a project-case and alternative baseline scenario. The baseline is set at zero (i.e., the establishment of trees or other vegetation is unlikely in the absence of the project) if the project meets conservative criteria.
Verra’s ARR methodology provides the flexibility to utilize either or both accounting approaches within a project. However, 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.
In conjunction with the development of VM0047, Verra also created a specific accompanying module to better account for leakage: 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 independent consultants, TerraCarbon and Silvestrum, with contributions from Kyle S. Hemes and the ABACUS Working Group, in accordance with the VCS Methodology Development and Review Process, v4.3 (PDF).
“We are excited for this methodology to be put to work,” said David Shoch, Director Forestry, TerraCarbon. “We have incorporated innovative approaches that will allow small- and large-scale projects to report climate impacts with facility and confidence. In particular, the use of remote sensing will allow projects to monitor comparative performance of projects and paired controls, improving our ability to attribute impacts to project actions. And we have structured the methodology in a way to accommodate and encourage innovation in the application of remote sensing to project measurement, reporting and verification.”
“The American Forest Foundation is proud to be in support of this new, innovative methodology and will be one of the first project developers to put it into immediate use through our Family Forest Carbon Program,” said Lynn Riley, Climate Science Senior Manager at the American Forest Foundation (AFF). “In addition to advancing the robust accounting for performance benchmarks, VM0047 provides tremendous new opportunities for small and underserved landowners. Small individual landowners are a critical piece to solving the climate crisis puzzle — and unlocking access to the voluntary carbon market is one of the most viable ways to activate small landowners’ potential to fight climate change. Matched dynamic performance benchmarks — including this ARR methodology and the Improved Forest Management methodology (VM0045) already in use by AFF — increase the accuracy and quality of carbon projects while bringing more equity to a market that has largely been inaccessible.”
Verra hosted a webinar on October 12 at 1:00 pm ET to provide an overview of VM0047 Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation.
Verra is a nonprofit organization that operates the world’s leading carbon crediting program, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, as well as other standards in environmental and social markets. Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods, and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools, and programs that credibly, transparently, and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits.