Verra has outlined a clear set of actions, based on a recent review, to strengthen the Improved Forest Management (IFM) methodologies in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program that credit emission reduction and removal activities on forest lands managed for the harvest of wood products.

The purpose of the upcoming updates is to increase the integrity and consistency of these methodologies and to ensure that they continue to reflect the best available science and technology, remain responsive to emerging policy recommendations, and incorporate advances in remote-sensing and computing technology (e.g., AI and machine learning). Verra has also identified opportunities for developing additional comprehensive IFM methodologies.

To this end, Verra plans to take the following action steps:

  • Develop a clearer delineation of the scope of each of our current IFM methodologies.
  • Continuously update and streamline Verra’s IFM methodologies so they meet the requirements of market integrity initiatives while prioritizing efficiency and ease of use.
  • Expand the use of dynamic performance benchmark methodologies across a wider range of project activities and geographies (e.g., through adding eligible forest inventory data sets to VM0045 Methodology for Improved Forest Management Using Dynamic Matched Baselines from National Forest Inventories and developing remote sensing-based dynamic performance benchmark methodologies).
  • Ensure consistent leakage accounting across all IFM methodologies (e.g., through the potential development of a new IFM-specific tool).

Over the coming year, Verra will be implementing these actions with input from experts and public consultation. We have already begun to update these methodologies, beginning with VM0010 Methodology for Improved Forest Management: Conversion from Logged to Protected Forest, v1.3.

The upcoming methodology updates and changes fall under Verra’s commitment to enhanced program impact and integrity, which is a component of the New Era for Verra initiative.