Forest Project Protocol Development

Version 5.0

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 5.0

(October 16, 2019)

The revision from Forest Project Protocol Version 4.0 to 5.0 involved the addition of a standardized baseline option for Improved Forest Management (IFM) projects, a revised minimum verification schedule, inclusion of the Quantification Guidance as an appendix, and several other updates to enhance usability.
Forest Project Protocol Summary Coming Soon

This document is a one-page summary of the Forest Project Protocol Version 5.0 project eligibility requirements including project start date, additionality, and environmental safeguards.

Summary of Changes from V4.0 to V5.0 This document summarizes the significant revisions from FPP Version 4.0 to Version 5.0.

 

Version 5.0 Second Public Comment Period

The second public comment period was held from June 5, 2019 to July 12, 2019. See below for the summary of comments and responses from Reserve staff, as well as the submitted comments in their entirety.

Bluesource Finite Carbon
California Forest Carbon Coalition GHG Engineering
Chugach Alaska Corporation; Ahtna, Inc.; Sealaska Corporation The Climate Trust

 

Version 5.0 First Public Comment Period

The first public comment period was held from November 1, 2018 to December 14, 2018. See below for the summary of comments and responses from Reserve staff, as well as the submitted comments in their entirety.

Barbara Haya New Forests
Bluesource The Climate Trust
California Forest Carbon Coalition (CFCC) The Conservation Fund
Christopher Galik William Stewart

 

Version 5.0 First Public Comment Period Workshop

The Reserve hosted a public webinar on November 14, 2018 to discuss the proposed changes to the protocol and quantification guidance and solicit public comment. The presentation slides and meeting video are available below.


Version 4.0

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 4.0

(June 28, 2017)

The revision from Forest Project Protocol Version 3.3 to 4.0 involved eligible location expansion to Hawaii and U.S. territories, a new public lands baseline methodology for improved forest management projects, replacement of the Logical Management Unit approach with project area requirements for managing selection bias, incorporation of the Reserve’s standardized inventory methodology and inventory tool, and several other updates to enhance usability.
Errata and Clarifications for Forest Project Protocol Version 4.0

(May 14, 2018)

Erratum issued to correct a baseline equation.
Forest Project Protocol Summary This document is a one-page summary of the Forest Project Protocol Version 4.0 project eligibility requirements including project start date, additionality, and environmental safeguards.
Summary of Changes from V3.3 to V4.0 This document summarizes the significant revisions from FPP Version 3.3 to Version 4.0.
Quantification Guidance

(June 28, 2017)

This document provides 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.
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.
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).
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.

 

Version 4.0 Public Comment Period

California State Parks Pacific Forest Trust
New Forests The Conservation Fund

 

Version 4.0 Public Comment Workshop

The Reserve hosted a webinar on April 27, 2017 to discuss the proposed changes to the protocol and quantification guidance and solicit public comment. The meeting recording and presentation slides are available below.

Presentation Slides
Meeting Video


Version 3.3

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.3 (November 15, 2012) The revision from Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 to 3.3 involved minor editorial changes and clarifications as well as improved guidance based on recommendations from the soil carbon, lying dead wood, and sustainable forestry certification white papers and stakeholder comment process.
Forest Project Protocol Summary This document is a one-page summary of the Forest Project Protocol Version 3.3 project eligibility requirements including project start date, additionality, and environmental safeguards.
Summary of Changes from V3.2 to V3.3 This document summarizes the significant revisions from FPP Version 3.2 to Version 3.3.
Quantification Guidance (January 21, 2014) This document provides 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 3.3 Public Comment Period

Blue Source LLC Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Center for Biological Diversity The Nature Conservancy
National Alliance of Forest Owners Weyerhaeuser Company
Placer County Air Pollution Control District  

 

Version 3.3 Public Comment Workshop

The Reserve hosted a workshop in San Francisco on July 13, 2012 to discuss the proposed changes to the FPP Version 3.3 as well as the Federal Lands White Paper. The Reserve will use feedback from the workshop along with written comments received during the public comment period to inform decisions about the protocol revisions. The meeting video is available below.

Meeting Video

 

Version 3.3 References

Methodology for using the Forest Soil Carbon Loss Lookup Table by Alex Gershenson, PhD
Verification of Forest Carbon Project Plots Using Sequential Statistical Methods by Tim Robards, PhD
Differences Between Standing and Downed Dead Tree Wood Density Reduction Factors: A Comparison Across Decay Classes and Tree Species by Mark E. Harmon, PhD


Version 3.2

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2
(August 31, 2010)
The revision from Forest Project Protocol Version 3.1 to 3.2 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.
Errata and Clarifications to Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 (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 Protocol Summary This document is a one-page summary of the Forest Project Protocol Version 3.2 project eligibility requirements including project start date, additionality, and environmental safeguards.
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.

Summary of Changes from Version 3.1 to 3.2

  • Changed and clarified 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
  • Edited and incorporated the forest verification protocol, which was formerly a standalone document, into the Forest Project Protocol itself (Section 10)
  • Added further guidance on how to determine a common practice value for IFM projects
  • Removed the “Appendix F” data table and created an “Assessment Area Data File” which is regularly updated on the Reserve’s website
  • Changed requirements so that projects can span multiple FIA assessment areas
  • Clarified requirements for submission of attestation forms and regulatory compliance
  • Edited and clarified reporting requirements
  • Clarified requirements and guidance related to the reporting and verification cycle for projects
  • Corrected calculation methods for leakage and harvested wood products so that projects that increase harvesting levels are not unfairly penalized

Guidelines for aggregating forest projects are available on the main Forest Project Protocol webpage.


Version 3.1

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 3.1
(October 22, 2009)
The Forest Project Protocol revision from Version 3.0 to 3.1 involved minor editorial changes and clarifications to calculation methodologies and terminology; the update did not affect eligibility criteria for forest projects. For further details see the Forest Project Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 3.0 to 3.1
Errata and Clarification to Forest Project Protocol, Version 3.1
(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 Protocol Summary A one-page summary of the protocol requirements.
Forest Project Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 3.0 to 3.1  
Forest Project Verification Protocol Version 3.0
(September 1, 2009)
A guidance document for verifying Version 3.1 projects.
Forest Project Baseline Determination
(Spring 2010)
The Reserve released clarifications and amendments to the protocol concerning forest project baseline determinations and California’s Forest Practice Rules. The link provides more information on these amendments as well as public comments and staff responses to public comments.
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.

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.
       

 

Version 3.0 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.

 

Version 3.0 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.

 

Version 3.0 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.

 

Version 3.0 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  

 

Version 3.0 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  

 

Version 3.0 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.

Version 3.0 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

 


Version 2.1

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 2.1
(September 6, 2007)
Version 2.1 was a policy revision with a full public comment period and Reserve Board approval. A summary of changes from the previous version can be viewed here: Forest Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 1.0 to 2.1.
Forest Sector Protocol Version 2.1
(September 6, 2007)
The protocol for quantifying and reporting entity-level carbon stocks and CO2 emissions. Version 2.1 required inventory reporting of carbon stocks and emissions on all lands owned by the project participant.
Forest Verification Protocol Version 2.0
(May 2007)
This protocol contains the requirements for verifying projects submitted under Version 2.1.
Forest Protocol Summary A one-page summary that identifies provisions and requirements.
Forest Protocol Summary of Changes from Version 1.0 to 2.1 This document summarizes the significant revisions from FPP Version 1.0 to Version 2.1.
Summary of Response to Public Comments, Version 2.1 A summary of responses to public comments received.

Version 2.1 Workgroup Participants

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

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

Document/Tool Description
Forest Project Protocol Version 1.0
(September 2005)
The first forest project protocol developed under the California Climate Action Registry.
Forest Sector Protocol Version 1.0
(September 2005)
The protocol for quantifying and reporting entity-level carbon stocks and CO2 emissions. Version 1.0 required inventory reporting of carbon stocks and emissions on all lands owned by the project participant.
Forest Verification Protocol Version 1.0
(September 2005)
The companion document for verifying project and entity reporting

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. 

Version 1.0 Public Comments

Public comments were received from the organizations listed in the table below. Their comments have been summarized and responded to by the Reserve.

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

Version 1.0 Workgroup Participants

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

 

Version 1.0 Workgroup Notes

Minutes

Agendas

 

Please contact Policy Team with questions or comments.

 

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: