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.
Preliminary Improved Forest Management Project Feasibility Evaluation (Feasibility Tool): This tool is provided by the Climate Action Reserve to provide a broad assessment of Improved Forest Management project feasibility from financial and eligibility perspectives. This tool can be used to assess feasibility for a compliance or voluntary forest carbon project. Please note, the results of the evaluation does not guarantee program eligibility and does not constitute financial or legal advice. We encourage all users to contact the Reserve at any time as they consider developing a project. Please visit the Reserve’s CRT Marketplace page for industry resources and contacts who can provide detailed cost/benefit analysis and project development proposals.
|Protocol Version and Link to Further Information||Adoption Date||Notes|
|Version 4.0||June 28, 2017||Available for project submission|
|Errata and Clarifications for Forest Project Protocol Version 4.0||May 14, 2018|
|Version 3.3||November 15, 2012||No longer available for project submission|
|Version 3.2||August 31, 2010|
|Version 3.1||October 22, 2009|
|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 Forest Project Protocol is currently undergoing revision to Version 5.0. Please click the link below to review the draft protocol and information regarding public comment submission.
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.
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 four protocols that ARB adopted for early action. ARB retains final authority as to what guidance will be accepted for use in the compliance program.
|Document/Tool||Description||Project/Protocol Version Relevance|
|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.|
|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 25, 2011.|
|Batch 1.1||Required for all projects listed after March 25, 2011 and optional for previously listed projects.|
|Batch 2.0||Required for projects listed June 28, 2017 or later|
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 re[email protected]. In the body of the e-mail message, please include the following information:
||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|
Monitoring Calculation Worksheet
|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 [email protected]. In the body of the e-mail message, please include the following information:
||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|
(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.||Version 4.0|
|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.|
(January 26, 2018)
|A Microsoft Excel application to be used by verifiers.||Required for verification of all sampled and credited carbon pools in Version 4.0 of the protocol. If you need an earlier version of the tool for sequential sampling of soil carbon or optional sequential sampling of v3.0-3.2, please send your request to [email protected].|
(April 4, 2019)
|A Microsoft Excel application to be used by verifiers.||Appropriate for use with ARB’s Compliance Offset Protocol – US Forest Projects, 2011 and 2014 versions. Please note that this is not an official ARB-approved tool.|
(March 22, 2019)
|A Microsoft Excel application to be used by verifiers.||Appropriate for use with ARB’s Compliance Offset Protocol – US Forest Projects, 2015 version. Please note that this is not an official ARB-approved tool.|
|Standardized Inventory Methodology
(June 13, 2018)
|A pre-verified inventory methodology available for optional use for Forest Projects. Use of the Standardized Inventory Methodology (SIM) and the options it contains will streamline the verification process by allowing verifiers to focus more on proper and accurate implementation rather than on the overall soundness of the methodology and conformance to the Forest Project Protocol.||Version 4.0|
|Standardized Inventory Methodology – Appendix B
(June 13, 2018)
|Excel file containing a table listing the alphabetic species codes from the USDA PLANTS database recommended for recording tree species as a part of field sampling under the SIM. Also listed are the scientific name, common name, and USFS FIA species code associated with each USDA PLANTS code. USDA PLANTS and USFS FIA codes are both compatible with CARIT (upcoming release).||For use by 4.0 projects utilizing the SIM|
|Standardized Inventory Methodology – Appendix D
(June 13, 2018)
|Excel file of a sample plot card containing the minimum data fields required for plot data collected for inventories sampled under the SIM. The form may be used as is or may serve as a template to which additional fields may be added to suit the management needs of Project Operators.||For use by 4.0 projects utilizing the SIM|
|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|
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 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.