Verra has released the revised Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) VM0042 Methodology for Improved Agricultural Land Management, v2.0 (IALM Methodology), following extensive internal and expert review, as well as public consultation. This revision strengthens the methodology’s greenhouse gas (GHG) quantification and makes it more widely applicable and user-friendly. The revisions also include improvements to VMD0053 Model Calibration, Validation, and Uncertainty Guidance for the Methodology for Improved Agricultural Land Management, v2.0.
A Robust and Adaptable Methodology
The IALM Methodology quantifies the GHG emission reductions and soil organic carbon (SOC) removals resulting from adoption of improved agricultural land management (ALM) practices, including reduced tillage and improvements in fertilizer application, biomass residue and water management, cash and cover crop planting and harvesting practices, and grazing practices. Farmers and ranchers participating in projects under this VCS methodology deliver important climate mitigation benefits whilst improving their incomes and on-farm resilience.
The revision of the methodology has been in progress since mid-2021 and has gained a high level of stakeholder interest. A 2022 public consultation to inform the methodology revision resulted in nearly 400 comment submissions, which Verra’s Program Development and Innovation Department carefully considered as a part of the revision process.
Updates to the methodology from the previous version include the following:
- A new “baseline control sites” option for direct SOC measurement that does not depend on the use of models;
- An updated section on uncertainty that clarifies the statistical procedures to quantify the many sources of uncertainty in a VM0042 project, which will ensure the quality and integrity of the projects using this methodology;
- New guidance on the use of proximal sensing technologies to estimate SOC content;
- A new applicability condition allowing for one-time land use change between grasslands and croplands (or vice versa) to enable restoration of degraded lands and integrated crop-livestock systems;
- A new requirement to account for emissions associated with use of agricultural limestone, a common agricultural amendment used to ameliorate soil acidity;
- A new requirement to account for leakage from diversion of biomass residues used for energy applications in the baseline scenario;
- New guidance in VMD0053 pertaining to the use of models, specifically the roles and responsibilities of independent modeling experts and their interactions with validation/verification bodies who will contract them;
- Numerous clarifications that make the methodology documents for VM0042 and VMD0053 more reader- and user-friendly (e.g., new graphics and visuals, updated parameter tables, expanded guidance on soil sampling).
Projects that have requested listing on the Verra Registry before 30 May 2023 may complete validation using the previous version within six months.
Verra hosted a webinar to provide an overview of the revised methodology on 22 June at 11:00 am ET.
For any questions regarding methodology details or the revision process, please email email@example.com.