Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0
(September 1, 2009)
Version 3.0 was a significant revision from Version 2.1 that involved a two-year process with extensive stakeholder and public participation. The details of the development process are described below.
Errata and Clarifications to Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 (October 29, 2014) Project developers and verifiers must refer to this document to ensure that the most current guidance is adhered to in project design and verification.
Forest Project Verification Protocol Version 3.0
(September 1, 2009)
A guidance document for verifying projects under Version 3.0.
Announcement Regarding Optional Carbon Pools
(March 4, 2011)
A memo to all project developers and verification bodies regarding the disallowance of crediting optional carbon pools unless and until standardized guidance can be developed to quantify the optional pools.

*Note: As of July 3, 2012, standardized guidance has been provided for soil carbon accounting, as described below.
Supplemental Guidance for Soil Carbon Accounting in Avoided Conversion Projects
(July 3, 2012)
Supplemental guidance which enables the inclusion of soil carbon in certain Avoided Conversion projects.
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.

Protocol Development in 2009

A draft of the Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 was released for public comment in April 2009, incorporating several changes to the protocol draft released in December 2008. A workgroup draft of the protocol, which incorporated public and workgroup comments since April, was released in August 2009, followed by a public workshop to discuss the draft protocol. A final version of the protocol was presented to the Reserve Board for adoption in September 2009.

Public Workshop

The Reserve hosted a public workshop in Sacramento on August 17, 2009 to discuss revisions to the draft protocol and to solicit further public feedback. See the presentation slides below.

Workgroup Draft Protocol

A new draft of the protocol was developed based on public stakeholder and workgroup comments and recommendations. See the draft below as well as a red-line draft of the protocol revisions.

Project Implementation Agreement Public Comments

Public comments were submitted on the draft Project Implementation Agreement (PIA) in June 2009. The majority of the public comments reference the first version of the draft PIA and draft Consequences for Reversals and Early Termination (June 2, 2009). The staff responses to the public comments reference the updated draft of the PIA (June 5, 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

Public comments were submitted on the draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 in April and May of 2009. See the draft protocol, staff responses to public comments, and public comments below.

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

Public comments were submitted on the draft wood products guidance in February 2009. See the draft guidance, staff responses to public comments, and public comments below.

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

Public Workshop

A public workshop was hosted to discuss the draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 on February 3, 2009. See the agenda and presentation slides below.

Protocol Development in 2008

Since the adoption of the Forest Project Protocol Version 2.1 in September 2007, the Reserve worked closely with stakeholders, forest experts, environmental organizations and government agencies to update, improve and expand the protocol (see summary of changes section below). The first draft revision of the protocol was released for public comment in December 2008.

Version 3.0 Public Comments

Public comments were submitted on the draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 in December 2008 and January 2009. See the draft protocol, staff responses to public comments, and public comments below.

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

The following minority reports identify areas where the workgroup did not achieve complete consensus.

Summary of Changes from Version 2.1 to 3.0

Significant improvements and changes form the Forest Project Reporting Protocol Version 2.1 to the draft Forest Project Protocol Version 3.0 included 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

Version 3.0 also introduced the requirement for each project developer to sign a Project Implementation Agreement (PIA) in order to register a forest project with the Reserve. The PIA set 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.

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


Please contact the Policy Team with questions or comments.