Forest Project Protocol Development

Version 3.2

The Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 revision involved minor editorial changes and clarifications as well as improved guidance for baseline determination (improved forest management projects) and new guidance for aggregating forest projects. Notable changes from Version 3.1 include:

  • Changes and clarifications were added to the requirements for establishing a baseline for improved forest management (IFM) projects. These changes address legal agreements and project area selection. To review more detail about the baseline changes, see the Forest Project Baseline Determination webpage
  • The forest verification protocol, which was formerly a standalone document, has been edited and incorporated as part of the Forest Project Protocol itself (Section 10)
  • Further guidance has been added on how to determine a Common Practice value for IFM projects
  • The “Appendix F” data table has now been removed and made available as a regularly updated “Assessment Area Data File” on the Reserve’s website
  • The protocol now allows projects to span multiple FIA assessment areas
  • Clarifications have been added relating to submission of attestation forms and regulatory compliance
  • Reporting requirements have been edited and clarified
  • Requirements and guidance have been clarified related to the reporting and verification cycle for projects
  • Calculation methods for leakage and harvested wood products have been corrected so that projects that increase harvesting levels are not unfairly penalized
  • The definition of reversals has been modified so it includes more than just reversals in onsite carbon stocks
  • Guidelines for Aggregating Forest Projects are now available on the Current Forest Project Protocol webpage

Version 3.1

The Forest Project Protocol revision involved minor editorial changes and clarifications to calculation methodologies and terminology; the update does not affect eligibility criteria for forest projects. Notable changes from Version 3.0 include:

  • Clarified language on legal requirement test for Improved Forest Management projects
  • Revised start date requirements
  • Clarified language on silvicultural practices and requirements for balancing age and habitat classes
  • Clarified language on quantification steps and requirements
  • Clarified difference between reversals and “negative carryovers”
  • Inserted table with sample calculations for a hypothetical forest project

Forest Project Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 3.0 to 3.1

Version 3.0

Forest Project Protocol Draft Recommended for Board Adoption

This draft contained edits and changes recommended by Reserve staff to the stakeholder workgroup draft (below). Significant changes to the workgroup version included:

  • Modified requirements related to structural elements (Section 3.9.2)
  • Expanded tables identifying the GHG Assessment Boundary for each project type (Section 5).
  • Modifications to IFM leakage accounting (Section 6.2.6)
  • Modifications to wood product accounting (Section 6 and Appendix C)

In addition, Reserve staff continued to review the protocol for clarity, consistency, and accuracy. As a result of this review, staff had compiled a list of errata that were proposed to the Board at the time of adoption. This list is provided below. The Reserve staff had also completed a draft Forest Project Verification Protocol, which is also provided below.

Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 – For Board Approval (August 2009)
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 – For Board Approval with Edits
Forest Project Protocol Errata (August 24, 2009)
Draft Forest Project Verification Protocol (August 30, 2009)

In addition, the Reserve had finalized the Project Implementation Agreement, which must be signed by all project developers wishing to register forest projects with the Reserve. As with the protocol itself, Reserve staff compiled as short list of errata to the Project Implementation Agreement, which were submitted for approval by the Board.

Project Implementation Agreement (August 2009)
Project Implementation Agreement with Edits
Project Implementation Agreement Errata (August 24, 2009)

Forest Project Protocol Draft Recommended by Stakeholder Workgroup

This draft contained several modifications and revisions to the FPP draft that was released on June 22, 2009. Significant changes from the June 22 version included:

  • Changes to reforestation project definition and requirements (Section 2.1.1)
  • Clarification regarding terms for regulatory additionality (Section 3.1)
  • Clarification regarding the use of conservation easements and deed restrictions (Section 3.6)
  • Changes to sustainable harvesting and natural forest management criteria, including the inclusion of a requirement to maintain standing live carbon stocks (Section 3.9)
  • Changes to the designation of required and optional carbon pools for GHG accounting purposes (Section 5)
  • Clarification of requirements related to reforestation project baselines (Section 6.1.1)
  • Modifications to wood product accounting, specifically related to landfill carbon (Appendix C)
  • Changes to reversal risk ratings for the purpose of determining buffer pool contributions (Appendix D)
  • Numerous other edits, including clarification of monitoring and reporting requirements (entire document, Sections 8 and 9)

Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 Workgroup Draft (August 2009)
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 Workgroup Draft with Edits

Public Comments and Public Workshop

Below are the Reserve’s responses to all written comments received on both the April 2009 version of the draft protocol and the June 2009 version of the PIA.

Summary of comments and responses on the Draft Forest Project Protocol, April 2009
Summary of comments and responses on the Draft PIA, June 2009

Finally, on August 17, 2009 the Reserve held a workshop in Sacramento to explain the major elements of the updated Forest Project Protocol and take public comment. Slides from the workshop may be found here.

We at the Reserve would like to thank everyone for their comments and for their interest in and support of the Climate Action Reserve.

Background

Version 2.1 of the Forest Project Protocol was adopted in September 2007 by the Reserve Board and November 2007 by the California Air Resources Board and since those adoptions, the Reserve has worked closely with stakeholders, forest experts, environmental organizations and government agencies to update, improve and expand the protocol. Significant improvements and changes include the following:

  • Expanded applicability so that the protocol may be used with projects throughout the United States
  • Standardized requirements and improved guidance for estimating baselines for reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided conversion projects
  • An option for registering reforestation projects on lands that have recently undergone a significant natural disturbance
  • Explicit requirements and mechanisms to ensure the permanence of credited GHG reductions
  • Improved requirements for more comprehensively addressing leakage
  • Requirements and guidance for accounting for carbon in harvested wood products
  • Refinement of the definition of “natural forest management”
  • Numerous other clarifications, revisions, and improvements

The PIA is an agreement that project developers are required to sign in order to register a forest project with the Reserve. The PIA sets forth: (i) the project developer’s obligation to comply with the Forest Project Protocol, and (ii) the rights and remedies of the Reserve in the event of any failure of the project developer to comply with its obligations, including compensation for any “reversal” of greenhouse gas reductions.

Project developers may begin submitting projects under Version 3.0 of the FPP as soon as it is adopted by the Reserve’s Board. All Reserve Board meetings are open to the public. The Reserve Board will meet on September 1, 2009 in Sacramento, California to consider adoption of Version 3.0 of the FPP. Meeting details will be forthcoming.

Development Process

The first draft update to the FPP was released for public comment in December 2008, and the subsequent public comment period ended in February 2009. A draft of the FPP was released for public comment in April 2009, incorporating several changes to the December 2008 draft. The second public comment period ended in May 2009. A penultimate draft of the FPP was released on July 22, 2009, reflecting many changes to improve clarity and readability as well as respond to public comments submitted in April-May. This draft was considered by the Climate Action Reserve’s Board on July 1, 2009, but its adoption was deferred to allow more time for the Board and stakeholders to review the changes made since the April 2009 draft, and to allow clarification of changes made by Reserve staff that differed from the stakeholder workgroup’s recommendations.

On June 2, 2009, the Reserve released a draft of the Project Implementation Agreement for public review and comment (see below, under “Public Comments”). A revised version of the PIA, incorporating feedback from stakeholders, was posted on June 22, 2009.

Forest Project Protocol, Version 3.0 – For Board Approval (June 22, 2009)

Final Draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 (April 2009)

For a detailed summary of updates between the December 2008 and April 2009 drafts, please click here.

Draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 (December 2008)

Draft Wood Products Guidance for Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 (February 2009)

Project Implementation Agreement – For Board Approval (June 22, 2009)

Draft Project Implementation Agreement for Forest Protocol Version 3.0 (June 5, 2009)

The Forest Protocol Working Group strived for, and successfully achieved, consensus in most of the issues associated with updating the forest protocols. The following minority reports identify areas where the group did not achieve complete consensus:

Public Comments

Project Implementation Agreement Public Comments (June 2009):

Summary of comments and responses on the Draft PIA, June 2009

The majority of the public comments received by the Reserve reference the first version of the draft Project Implementation Agreement (PIA) and draft Consequences for Reversals and Early Termination (June 2, 2009). Please see these documents below when reviewing the public comments. The forthcoming staff responses to the public comments will reference the updated draft of the PIA (June 5, 2009), found above the Public Comment section of this webpage.

Draft Project Implementation Agreement for Forest Protocol Version 3.0 (June 2, 2009)

Consequences for Reversals and Early Termination, Draft PIA (June 2, 2009)

Blue Source Jeremy Weinstein
Campbell Timberland Management LandMark Systems & Akerman Senterfitt
CE2 Capital Partners LLC NAFO, OFIC, and WFPA
Ecotrust New Forests Advisory Inc.
Environmental Synergy Inc. North Coast Resource Management
Equator LLC Plumas Corporation
Finite Carbon Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Forest Landowners The Pacific Forest Trust

Version 3.0 Public Comments (April 2009):

Summary of comments and responses on the Draft Forest Project Protocol, April 2009

American Forest & Paper Association Hurteau, Koch, North, & Hungate
Andrea Tuttle, Forest and Climate Policy Kim Iles, Forest Biometrician
Bill Stewart, UC Berkeley Land Options Group
Blue Source Mendocino County Farm Bureau
California Council of Land Trusts NAFO, OFIC, and WFPA
Catherine Moore, Forest Landowner Natural Resources Defense Council
Center for Biological Diversity New Forests Advisory
City of Arcata, CA Nick Kent, RPF
Conservation Collaboratives, LLC North Coast Resource Management
East Bay Regional Park District Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch Regional Council of Rural Counties
Ecotrust Sierra Business Council
Emilio Laca, UC Davis Terra Global Capital, LLC
Environmental Synergy, Inc. TerraPass Inc.
Equator, LLC, Set 1 Terry Collins
Equator, LLC, Set 2 The Conservation Fund
FORECON EcoMarket Solutions, LLC The Delta Institute
Forest Landowners of California The Pacific Forest Trust
Forester’s Co-Op The Wilderness Society
ForestEthics Waste Management
Golden State Land Conservancy Weyerhaeuser Company
Grizzly Mountain Ranch

Wood Products Public Comments (February 2009):

American Forest & Paper Association Equator LLC
The Pacific Forest Trust Terry Collins
The Wilderness Society Solid Waste Industry for Climate Solutions
California Biomass Energy Alliance

Summary of comments and responses on the Draft Forest Project Reporting Protocol – Wood Products

Version 3.0 Public Comments (December 2008):

American Forest & Paper Association Natural Resources Defense Council
Baldwin, Blomstrom, Wilkinson and Associates, Inc. The Pacific Forest Trust
California Integrated Waste Management Board Recyclers Global Warming Council, CRRA
Cantor CO2e Sierra Business Council
The Collins Pine Co. et al. Terry Collins
Conservation Collaboratives, LLC The Conservation Fund
Craig Blencowe, RPF The Wilderness Society
Defenders of Wildlife Tim McAbee, RF
Ecofor LLC Thomas Gaman, RF
Equator, LLC The Trust for Public Land
Forest Landowners of California Bill Stewart, University of California, Berkeley
David Bischel et al., RPFs Weyerhaeuser Company
Forester’s Co-Op World Wildlife Fund US
Jim Cathcart Paul McArdle, US DOE EIA
Nick Kent, RPF MGM International LLC
NAFO, OFIC, and WFPA North Coast Resource Management
New Forests Northern California Society of American Foresters
Terra Global Capital, LLC Center for Biological Diversity
Hurteau et al. Forest Systems
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Summary of comments and responses on the Draft Forest Project Reporting Protocol

Resources

Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 Public Workshop, February 3, 2009

Workgroup Meeting, March 26

Version 3.0 Workgroup Participants

Beaty and Associates Pacific Forest Trust
California Air Resources Board Scientific Certification Systems
California Forestry Association Sierra Pacific Industries
California State Parks The Nature Conservancy
CalFire US Forest Service
Environmental Defense Fund U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Green Diamond Resources Winrock International
University of California World Resources Institute

Version 2.1

The Forest Project Protocol Version 2.1 was completed in September 2007. As it was a policy revision, there was a public comment period and the protocol revision was sent to the Reserve Board for approval. Notable changes include:

  • Removed requirement for stratification of forest inventories
  • Clarified the requirements for monumenting sampling plots used in creating a forestry inventory
  • Clarified methodology for the calculation of below-ground live biomass

Forest Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 1.0 to 2.1

Summary of Response to Public Comments, Version 2.1

Version 2.1 Workgroup Participants

  • California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection
  • California Energy Commission
  • Hancock Natural Resources Group
  • Mendocino Redwood Company
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Pacific Forest Trust
  • Winrock International

Note: there was no public Version 2.0 of the Forest Protocol. Version 2.0 was used as an internal working revision only.

Version 1.0

In response to a mandate set out in California Senate Bill 812 (Sher, 2002) the Reserve began work on a set of Forestry Protocols in April 2003. The bill mandated the establishment of protocols to encourage carbon sink activities by creating an incentive for forest landowners to undertake forest conservation, conservation-based management, and reforestation projects. An overview of the Forest Protocols and the development process is available below:

Overview of Forest Protocols

Public Comments
American Forest and Paper Association National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
Fibre Box Association Natural Resources Defense Council
First Environment Weyerhaeuser
Environmental Defense SGS
Georgia Pacific Corporation World Resources Institute

Summary of Response to Public Comments, Version 1.0

Version 1.0 Workgroup Participants

  • California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection
  • California Energy Commission
  • Hancock Natural Resources Group
  • Mendocino Redwood Company
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Pacific Forest Trust
  • Winrock International

Please contact Policy Team with questions or comments.

Workgroup Notes

Minutes

Agendas

The Forest Project Protocol Version 3.1 revision involved minor editorial changes and clarifications to calculation methodologies and terminology; the update does not affect eligibility criteria for forest projects. Notable changes from Version 3.0 include: