Verra has released a new methodology under its Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program for quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and removals in a wide range of Improved Forest Management (IFM) practices.

The Methodology for Improved Forest Management Using Dynamic Matched Baselines From National Forest Inventories was developed by the American Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and TerraCarbon through the Family Forest Carbon Program. The three proponents submitted the draft methodology to Verra in 2020, and Verra initiated several rounds of expert review and public consultation that wrapped up earlier this year.

The methodology makes it possible to develop “dynamic baselines” for GHG emission reductions and removals. Dynamic baselines work by comparing the carbon sequestered on lands enrolled in a carbon program to a control group, or synthetic composite, of highly similar forests that are not enrolled in the program. By measuring the difference between the project area and the composite, the methodology makes it easier to isolate the impacts of the project itself and quantify its impact.

Project proponents can apply this methodology to the following activities:

  • Enrichment planting
  • Release of natural regeneration via management of competing vegetation
  • Stand irrigation and/or fertilization
  • Reducing timber harvest levels
  • Deferring harvest/extending rotations or cutting cycles
  • Designating reserves
  • Altering fire severity via fuel load treatments

Project proponents applying this methodology to their projects will find an accounting system that focuses on emission reductions and removals and changes in carbon stocks in permanent plots. Combined with the dynamic performance benchmark approach, these improvements will increase the precision of GHG emission reductions and removals and result in more accurate reporting.