Urban Forest Project Protocol Revision

With support from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CalFIRE) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Reserve is revising its Urban Forest Project Protocol. The Urban Forest Project Protocol provides guidance to quantify and verify GHG reductions from a planned set of tree planting and maintenance activities implemented to permanently increase carbon storage through trees. The protocol is designed for use by municipalities, educational institutions, and utilities.

The Reserve has received feedback that Version 1.0 of the protocol presented significant hurdles to the successful implementation of urban forest offset projects. The objective of this revision is to develop a revised protocol that will make it more feasible for urban forest projects to be implemented while still meeting regulatory-quality standards for carbon offset development.

Adoption of a revised protocol by the Reserve should facilitate implementation of more urban forest projects, and improvements to the protocol could be considered by the California Air Resources Board in future updates of its own urban forest offset protocol for use in California’s cap-and-trade program.

The revised protocol is now available for review and public comment.

Public Comment Workshop

The Reserve hosted a public workshop on March 26, 2014 to discuss and solicit comments on draft Version 2.0 of the protocol. The workshop was held in conjunction with the Reserve’s annual conference, NACW 2014, in San Francisco, CA. The webinar video and presentation slides are available below.

Reserve Presentation
Meeting Video

Public Comment Period

The Reserve welcomes stakeholder feedback on the draft protocol. Please submit written comments by using the form below. Comments are due by 5:00 pm PDT on Friday, April 25.

Your Name (required)

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Organization (required)

File Upload (required - 5mb limit)

Your Message

Tree Planting Questionnaire

The Climate Action Reserve is seeking to further standardize quantification guidance in the revised Urban Forest Project Protocol. The questionnaire is designed to help the Reserve collect data that will be useful in developing a “common practice” statistic for tree planting activities. The statistic will be useful in identifying “normal” ongoing practices for a variety of municipal, educational, and utility stakeholders throughout a variety of socio-political settings in the United States. It is our goal that the standardized approach will provide clarity to baseline determinations and facilitate project development.

Please take a few moments to provide your responses. The questionnaire can be accessed through the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/treeplantingquestionnaire/

Should you have any questions regarding the questionnaire or the protocol update process, please contact John Nickerson at john@climateactionreserve.org.

Thank you for your participation!

Workgroup Meetings

To ensure that the protocol development process is transparent and open to as wide an audience as possible, the Reserve makes available to the general public documentation from the workgroup portion of protocol development as it occurs. Interested individuals may also participate in workgroup calls/webinars as an “observer.” Please note that observers will be in listen only mode during calls/webinars but are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions to the policy team at any point during the protocol revision process.

Urban Forest Workgroup Meeting 3
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Meeting Video
Meeting Notes

Urban Forest Workgroup Meeting 2
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Meeting Notes
Meeting Video

Urban Forest Workgroup Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Meeting Notes
Reserve Presentation
McPherson Presentation
Meeting Video: Part 1
Meeting Video: Part 2

Workgroup Participants

ArborVitae Environmental Services Sacramento Municipal Utility District
California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection Sacramento Tree Foundation
California Urban Forests Council SCS Global Services
City of Palo Alto, CA The Nature Conservancy
City of San Jose, CA UC Davis
Environmental Capital LLC University of Florida
Environmental Conservation Alliance US Forest Service
Hillis Clark et al West Coast Arborists

Observers to the Workgroup Process

Stakeholders may participate in the Urban Forest Project Protocol revision process as an observer. They are able to listen in on all workgroup meetings and provide comments to protocol staff prior to the formal public comment period. See below for some of the organizations who are observing the urban forest revision process.

Dorothy Abeyta, Plant Pathologist Institute for Environmental Solutions
CAL FIRE Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
California ReLeaf NYC Parks & Recreation
City of San Jose, CA Sacramento Tree Foundation
Code REDD Texas Climate & Carbon Exchange
Fourth Sector Strategies Zagori

Please email policy@climateactionreserve.org if you are interested in participating as an observer.


This timeline is subject to change and will be updated throughout the revision process.

Workgroup Formation April 2013
Duration of Protocol Drafting May 2013 – March 2014
Consideration by Reserve Board April 2014


Making of the Urban Forest Protocol

Please contact John Nickerson with questions or comments.