Forest Project Protocol

The Forest Project Protocol (FPP) provides guidance for the development of forest carbon projects. The FPP addresses eligibility and accounting requirements for the calculation of emissions removals and reductions associated with reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided conversion projects.

Protocol Version and Link to Further Information Adoption Date Notes
Version 3.3 November 15, 2012 Available for project submission
Version 3.2 August 31, 2010 Projects may continue to be submitted under Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 according to the conditions described in the policy memo dated June 4, 2013
ARB Compliance Offset Protocol for U.S. Forest Projects
Version 3.1 October 22, 2009 No longer available for project submission
Version 3.0 September 1, 2009
Version 2.1 September 6, 2007
Version 1.0 June 13, 2005

Versions 2.1 and 3.0 through 3.2 of the Forest Project Protocol were approved by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and credits issued under these versions are eligible to be Early Action Offset Credits.  In June 2013, ARB published a notice on its website regarding early action project guidance.  The notice may be accessed here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/offsets/offsets.htm

The Reserve is working closely with  ARB to assist with its review of all Reserve-issued guidance relating to this protocol and the Reserve’s other three protocols that ARB adopted for early action.  ARB retains final authority as to what guidance will be accepted for use in the compliance program.

Protocol Companion Documents and Tools

The documents and tools below are companions to the protocol and must be used for project development and verification oversight. Forms for requesting verification or project development assistance are found below.

Document/Tool Description Project/Protocol Version Relevance
Biomass Equations The biomass equations have been obtained from the United States Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) National Program. The equations are the same equations used to generate the Common Practice estimate for each Assessment Area (by site class where applicable). Project Developers must use these same equations for their projects. Required for all FPP Versions 3.0 and later.
Batch 1.0 Optional for projects listed prior to March 26, 2010.
Batch 1.1 Required for all projects listed after March 26, 2010 and optional for previously listed projects.

Assessment Area Data

The Assessment Area Data File provides data to calibrate protocol requirements to projects based on the forest communities in which the project is located. Required for all FPP Versions 3.0 and later.

Batch

1.0

Does not include Alaska or Hawaii. Required for all Early Action projects, as well as voluntary projects located outside of Alaska and Hawaii.

Batch

1.1

Includes Alaska and Hawaii only. To be used for voluntary projects located in these two states.

Monitoring Calculation Worksheet

 (November 1, 2012)

The Monitoring Calculation Worksheet is a Microsoft Excel application for inputting project data and calculating project-related data, including CRTs. It is designed to help forest project developers organize their project data and facilitate verification. A print copy of the calculation worksheet is required as part of annual monitoring and must be included with the Monitoring Report.This tool is made available to account holders upon request. To receive a copy, please send an e-mail to reserve@climateactionreserve.org. In the body of the e-mail message, please include the following information:

  1. Reserve Project ID number
  2. Dates of the current reporting period for your project
Required for 3.0 and later projects.
The Reserve will work with earlier projects to ensure previous reporting can be modified to the most current version

Harvested Wood Products Calculation Worksheet

(July 18, 2012)

The Harvested Wood Products Calculation Worksheet is a Microsoft Excel application for inputting a project’s harvest data, as well as calculating project and assisting in calculating baseline carbon from harvested wood products. It is designed to help forest project developers organize their project data and facilitate verification. An annually updated print copy of the harvested wood products calculation worksheet is required as part of annual monitoring and must be included with the Monitoring Report.This tool is made available to account holders upon request. To receive a copy, please send an e-mail to reserve@climateactionreserve.org. In the body of the e-mail message, please include the following information:

  1. Reserve Project ID number
  2. Dates of the current reporting period for your project
Required for 3.0 and later projects.The Reserve will work with earlier projects to ensure previous reporting can be modified to the current version

Forest Project Monitoring Report

(July 29, 2013)

A template to be used for Annual Monitoring Reports Required for 2.1 and later projects.

Forest Project Design Document (PDD) Template (April 05, 2012)

The Project Design Document (PDD) template is a structured outline Project Operators must use. The PDD ensures both consistency and completeness in documenting project information. The PDD is the main document reviewed by verifiers. Required for Version 3.3 and later

Project Implementation Agreement

June 6, 2012

The PIA is a legal agreement between the Reserve and a Forest Owner setting forth: (i) the Forest Owner’s obligation (and the obligation of its successors and assigns) to comply with the Forest Project Protocol, and (ii) the rights and remedies of the Reserve in the event of any failure of the Forest Owner to comply with its obligations. Required for all Versions 3.0 and later.
Quantification Guidance Guidance for quantifying a Forest Project’s onsite carbon stocks and carbon in harvested wood products, both for purposes of estimating a project’s baseline as well as providing ongoing estimates of onsite project carbon stocks throughout the project life. Required for Version 3.3 and later

Sequential Sampling Verification Workbook

(July 3, 2012)

A Microsoft Excel application to be used by verifiers wherever sequential sampling is required for verification. Required for verification of optional soil carbon quantification in Avoided Conversion projects (Versions 3.0 – 3.2) and verification of all sampled and credited carbon pools in Version 3.3.Optional for verification of all (non-soil) sampled and credited carbon pools in all previous versions of the protocol.
Supplemental Verification Methodology – Sequential Sampling (July 3, 2012) Supplemental guidance required for the verification of soil carbon estimates (if included) in Avoided Conversion projects. The verification method may be applied to other sampled carbon pools. Optional for verification of all (non-soil) sampled and credited carbon pools in all previous versions of the protocol.
Verification of Forest Carbon Project Plots Using Sequential Statistical Methods by Tim Robards, PhD This is a reference paper used to provide a statistical approach to checking plots as part of the CAR verification process. Sequential statistical methods are used to collect plot data until a threshold is reached where a decision may be made as to the adequacy of the plot data. Can be used as a resource when using sequential sampling methods

Reserve Guidelines for Aggregating Forest Projects

In 2010, the Reserve released final guidelines for aggregating smaller forest projects with a goal of making smaller projects more cost-effective. Projects submitted under Version 3.0 – 3.2 are eligible to aggregate under these rules.  The same aggregation rules are embodied within Version 3.3.
Forms

Request for Project Guidance (April 11, 2011)

A form to be used by project developers to request project-specific guidance.  The form, which will include both the request and the Reserve response, will remain as part of the project record. As needed for 2.1 and later projects.

Request for Verification Guidance

(April 11, 2011)

A form to be used by verifiers to request project-specific guidance.  The form, which will include both the request and the Reserve response, will remain as part of the project record. As needed for 2.1 and later projects.

Protocol White Papers

The Reserve has commissioned the development of white papers that address topics relating to carbon accounting of optional pools, criteria for sustainable forest management and natural forest management, and assessing forest project eligibility on federal lands. The federal lands white paper is available for review; the public comment period ended on July 18. Please click the link below for more information.

Forest Protocol White Papers

Forest Project Protocol Development

In response to a mandate set out in California Senate Bill 812 (Sher, 2002) the Climate Action Reserve began work on a set of Forestry Protocols in April 2003. The development of the Forest Project Protocol has evolved over time as the Reserve has worked closely with stakeholders, forest experts, environmental organizations and government agencies to update, improve and expand the protocol. Please click the link below for more information on the development process.

Forest Project Protocol Development