Update: Verra is extending the deadline for the submission of supplementary materials to April 7, 2024.

Verra hosted a webinar on this tool on April 4, 2024, at 11:00 am ET. A recording and PDF copy of the slide deck may be found below.

Verra has launched a new version of its VT0007 Unplanned Deforestation Allocation (UDef-A), v1.0. This new tool, which includes descriptions of procedures and a software application, is a key component to implementing the new approach to setting project baselines following Verra’s innovative new REDD methodology, VM0048 Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and the new module for Avoided Unplanned Deforestation (AUD) activities (VMD0055 Estimation of Emission Reductions from Avoiding Unplanned Deforestation) in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. In the context of the VCS Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ framework, VT0007 will also be used to allocate fractions of the jurisdictional forest reference emission level (FREL) to projects of sub-jurisdictional programs.

The baseline setting approach of VMD0055 proportionally allocates unplanned deforestation to all AUD projects in a jurisdiction (e.g., national or first subnational unit) based on a project’s deforestation risk. VT0007 defines the procedures for developing and selecting the risk maps, which use maps of historical deforestation and spatial predictors to predict jurisdictional deforestation risk for the next baseline period. Then Verra will spatially allocate unplanned deforestation activity data to projects throughout the jurisdiction based on the relative risk of deforestation in each pixel within their project boundary.

This new approach to providing allocated baselines for VCS AUD projects is not intended to replace or question government FRELs. As Verra implements this new approach to baseline setting, it will use official data where possible and share all final data with relevant government agencies.

How Does It Work?

Benchmark risk maps will be developed according to the tool and compared with alternatives that incorporate stakeholder submissions from governments, NGOs, academic institutions or project proponents, as well as data collected by service providers working on behalf of Verra. Stakeholder-submitted data will be third-party reviewed to determine its applicability to jurisdictional risk mapping and minimize spatial bias in jurisdictional risk maps.

The procedure laid out in VT0007, which will be implemented by third-party service providers on Verra’s behalf, includes the following steps:

  1. Construct a benchmark jurisdictional map of unplanned deforestation risk. This map is based on distance to forest edge, which is frequently cited as a straightforward, but singularly important, predictor of deforestation risk. The benchmark map provides a threshold level of prediction accuracy and is used to select among alternative models.
  2. Develop at least two alternative maps – which may be developed using stakeholder inputs – that model deforestation in the specific jurisdiction using various other factors that might more completely represent deforestation risk (e.g., proximity to roads or other infrastructure). Compare the benchmark map with alternative jurisdictional maps of unplanned deforestation risk to discern the risk map with the least error
  3. Use the selected risk map to proportionally allocate fractions of either the jurisdictional unplanned deforestation activity data baseline (in the context of VMD0055) or the jurisdictional FREL (in the context of the VCS Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ Framework) to projects or programs to be implemented within the jurisdiction.

The new digital version of VT0007 was developed by researchers from Clark Labs (external) at Clark University and TerraCarbon (external) over about 15 months. It has been through rigorous testing to ensure the benchmark map sets a high bar and the map selection process results in the most appropriate model for a given jurisdiction.

Call for Supplementary Materials for Jurisdictional Deforestation Risk Mapping 

Verra is encouraging REDD stakeholders, including governments, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and project developers, to submit supplementary materials that could support the development of jurisdictional deforestation risk maps. These maps will be used to allocate unplanned deforestation activity data to AUD projects registered in the VCS Program that are using Verra’s new consolidated REDD methodology (VM0048) and the VMD0055 module.

Through its contracted data service providers (DSPs), Verra will lead on developing the risk maps necessary for the allocation of jurisdictional unplanned deforestation activity data to AUD projects.

To leverage stakeholders’ experience, knowledge, and access to information and resources, Verra is requesting that stakeholders submit supplementary data for consideration and potential use by Verra’s DSPs when developing the alternative jurisdictional deforestation risk maps (see above for an explanation of the role of these alternative risk maps).

Supplementary materials may include any combination of the following:

  • Descriptions of drivers of deforestation in the jurisdiction
  • Spatial deforestation risk factor maps for the jurisdiction
  • Modeling algorithms

Each submission must include a description of the item, a proposal for its use in risk mapping, and a full citation. Contracted DSPs will review the submitted supplementary information, determine if it meets Verra’s rigorous requirements, and respond to each submission indicating whether and how the submission will be incorporated into the risk map development process. Where submissions include official government data, the DSP should use these data if the data are shown to be of at least comparable fitness for purpose as other available data sources. In any other case, the DSP is not obligated to use any or all submissions.

With this call, Verra primarily requests supplementary materials for those jurisdictions where activity data has been collected (see Table 1). Verra plans to soon issue a call for supplementary materials for the remaining 40+ jurisdictions with AUD projects but can also accept data for these additional jurisdictions now.

CountryJurisdictionBVP StartBVP EndHRP StartHRP End
BrazilAcre State2021-01-012026-12-31 2011-01-012020-12-31
Amapá State 2021-01-012026-12-31 2011-01-012020-12-31
Amazonas State 2024-01-012029-12-312014-01-012023-12-31
Mato Grosso 2019-01-012024-12-312009-01-012018-12-31
Pará State 2019-01-012024-12-312009-01-012018-12-31
Rondônia State 2022-01-012027-12-312012-01-012021-12-31
CambodiaNational 2022-01-012027-12-312012-01-012021-12-31
Democratic Republic of CongoMai Ndombe Province 2021-01-012026-12-312011-01-012020-12-31
TanzaniaNational2021-01-012026-12-312011-01-01 2020-12-31

Verra is requesting that supplementary materials be submitted to forestcarbon@verra.org by March 11, 2024. If supplementary materials are accessible via public online platforms, please provide access details with the item citation instead of directly sending the data. In instances where supplementary materials cannot be readily accessed online and cannot be emailed due to data volume, Verra can provide additional submission instructions.