No. 1/2004

1) Climate Change Info & Events
2) Research/Publications on Forest and Climate Change
3) Climate Change News
4) New Publications
5) Web sites of interest
6) Climate Change Jobs

1) Climate Change Info & Events


The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the nineteenth sessions of the COP's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) were held in Milan, Italy, from December 1 to December 12, 2003. More than 5000 participants from 166 governments and 312 intergovernmental, non-governmental and other observer organizations took part in the simultaneous sessions.

The Conference finalized so many important forestry-related issues, that a nickname ¿forestry COP¿ was coined.

Following are the outcomes on key issues:

In the Marrakech Accords at COP 7, the parties agreed to allow afforestation and reforestation projects under the CDM, but did not agree on the detailed rules for such projects. In Milan, the parties adopted decisions for the modalities and procedures for sinks projects in the CDM in the first commitment period (the treatment of sinks projects under the CDM for the second commitment period will be decided as part of the second commitment period negotiations).

The main issue has been how to address the problem of non-permanence of sinks projects credits. The COP decision defines two types of CERs: tCERs (temporary CERs) which are valid until the end of the commitment period subsequent to the commitment period for which it was issued; and lCERs (long-term CERs, nicknamed ulCERs), which are valid for the project¿s crediting periods. Sinks projects can have a crediting period of either 20 years, with the possibility of two renewals up to 60 years total, or 30 years with no renewals. Both types of CERs must be used for the commitment period for which they were issued i.e., they cannot be banked. Both must be replaced by another permanent credit prior to their expiration.

The COP9 decision also addresses the issues of additionality (the text on additionality is parallel to the text in the energy decision [17/CP.7]), leakage (increase of all greenhouse gases outside the project boundary, measurable and attributable to the project, subtracted from net project effect) and socio-economic and environmental impacts. The latter turned out to be one of the most controversial issues due to the question if genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and potentially invasive alien species should be excluded from sinks projects. Rather than ban projects involving such trees, the decision requires that they be evaluated in accordance with the host country¿s national laws, and that information on the species used be identified in the project design document (PDD). Socio-economic and environmental impacts in and outside the project boundary have to be analyzed; and if considered to be ¿significant¿, formally assessed according to host country procedures.

The agreement also defines small-scale projects for LULUCF as those that result in net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals of less than 8 kilotonnes of CO2 per year (8000 t CO2 or 2180 t C), and are developed or implemented by low-income communities or individuals, as determined by the host country. These projects are eligible for simplified procedures and facilitation. Modalities for these LULUCF small-scale projects, are to be considered in detail at COP 10 at the end of 2004 in Buenos Aries, after submissions by Parties.

Access the original UNFCCC document at:

- Harvested wood products (HWPs):

The current state of discussions is reflected in a Secretariat technical paper and the IPCC Good Practice Guidance. Parties are asked to submit their views and preferences. A workshop on the topic is planned in the second half of 2004. HWPs unlikely to be included in the first commitment period.

- IPCC Good Practice Guidance (GPG) for LULUCF:

Annex I countries use the GPG for reporting under the UNFCC (yearly National Communications of greenhouse gas emissions and removals by sinks). COP10 will decide about those parts of the GPG which refer to reporting under the Kyoto Protocol; e.g. projects; domestic afforestation, reforestation, deforestation and forest management. Non-Annex I (developing) countries merely encouraged to use the GPG ¿to the extent possible¿ and ¿as appropriate¿ in national communications.


Concluding their joint programme to offer a forum for ¿sinks¿ negotiators from the developing countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia for COP9, FAO, IUCN and UNEP convened a one - day meeting on outstanding issues related to the Clean Development Mechanism. Negotiators from Central and South America, and experts from Malaysia and China participated. The informal discussions built understanding between experts and sifted out common interests and differences, e.g. regarding small-scale projects.

Dealing with carbon accumulation in harvested wood products and the new IPCC Good Practice Guidance for Land-use and Forestry were further forestry-related issues.



After the climate, biodiversity goes down the drain.

An analysis by Malte Meinshausen and Bill Hare with comments from Mahi Sideridou and Vanessa Atkinson.


CoP-9 has agreed the rules of accounting for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry, so called Sinks, projects in the Clean Development Mechanism for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as required by the Marrakech Accords (17/CP.7, 10(b)). This document presents a rough guide and analysis of the key decisions that were made in Milan at CoP-9 on CDM sinks rules (FCCC/SBSTA/2003/L.27). As is well known, Greenpeace and many other environmental groups have long been opposed to the inclusion of sinks projects in the CDM, and this opposition remains. Nevertheless, Parties have agreed to include sinks and consequently the focus of our efforts since Marrakech has been to ensure that the rules have climatic, environmental and social integrity. After the key climate concern was overruled by allowing offset-sinks into the CDM at CoP-6bis, the current rules should at least have prevented subsidies to environmentally and socially damaging projects. Unfortunately, the door is now wide open for projects with disastrous effects for biodiversity and local livelihoods. Such projects should now, and most likely will, be opposed on the ground and investors should be held accountable. No party acting in good faith should want to give Kyoto a bad reputation by using monocultures or genetically modified organisms in the name of climate protection.

* Summary of the conference by the International Institute for Sustainable Development:

*Pew Center - Conference of the Parties (COP 9) summary:

*Associated Press coverage in the New York Times

*AFP - Green light for GM trees

UN diplomats have reached an agreement in principle to include genetically-modified trees in forests planted for the specific purpose of soaking up greenhouse gases.

2) Research/Publications on Forest and Climate Change

Journal: Science

Volume: 302 Issue: 5649 year 2003

- REPORTS - ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: Impacts of Fine Root Turnover on Forest NPP and Soil C Sequestration Potential - The fine roots of trees last longer than was thought, decreasing estimates of carbon in soils.

Matamala, R - Gonzàlez-Meler, M A - Jastrow, J D - Norby, R J - Schlesinger, W H

pp 1385 - 1387


Estimates of forest net primary production (NPP) demand accurate estimates of root production and turnover. We assessed root turnover with the use of an isotope tracer in two forest free-air carbon dioxide enrichment experiments. Growth at elevated carbon dioxide did not accelerate root turnover in either the pine or the hardwood forest. Turnover of fine root carbon varied from 1.2 to 9 years, depending on root diameter and dominant tree species. These long turnover times suggest that root production and turnover in forests have been overestimated and that sequestration of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon in forest soils may be lower than currently estimated.


Journal: Science

Volume: 302 Issue: 5650 year 2003

- REPORTS - ECOLOGY: Carbon in Amazon Forests: Unexpected Seasonal Fluxes and Disturbance-Induced Losses - Old-growth forests in the Amazon are periodically disturbed and regenerated, and thus may sequester less carbon than earlier studies have suggested.

Saleska, S R - Miller, S D - Matross, D M - Goulden, M L - Wofsy, S C - Rocha, H R da - Camargo, P B de - Crill, P -Daube, B C - Freitas, H C de - Hutyra, L - Keller, M - Kirchhoff, V -Menton, M - Munger, J W - Pyle, E H - Rice, A H - Silva, H pp 1554 - 1557


The net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide was measured by eddy covariance methods for 3 years in two old-growth forest sites near Santarem, Brazil. Carbon was lost in the wet season and gained in the dry season, which was opposite to the seasonal cycles of both tree growth and model predictions. The 3-year average carbon loss was 1.3 (confidence interval: 0.0 to 2.0) megagrams of carbon per hectare per year. Biometric observations confirmed the net loss but imply that it is a transient effect of recent disturbance superimposed on long-term balance. Given that episodic disturbances are characteristic of old-growth forests, it is likely that carbon sequestration is lower than has been inferred from recent eddy covariance studies at undisturbed sites. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]


Journal: Environmental Management

Volume:31 Issue: 1 2003

- Competitive Displacement of Trees in Response to Environmental Change or Introduction of Exotics Loehle, Craig pp 106 - 115


Various global change factors such as natural and anthropogenic climate change, tropospheric ozone, CO2, SO2, and nitrogen deposition affect forest growth, but in species-specific ways. Since even small differences in growth rates between competing species can lead to eventual competitive exclusion, it is important to know the rate at which displacement might occur. Similarly, invasive species may displace native species and cause their extinction. A simulation study of displacement velocity was conducted. Competitive displacement between pairs of similar tree species in which one species has a growth advantage produced trajectories that fit an exponential decay model, leading to the use of the half-life as a useful summary statistic. At any given level of growth differential, the half-life for shade-tolerant species was found to be much longer than for shade-intolerant species due to the ability of shade-tolerant species to survive even when their growth is very slow. Trees with longer life-spans also persisted longer, but this effect was weaker than the shade-tolerance effect. Disturbances speeded up displacement by increasing turnover. For short-lived,intolerant species with a 20% disturbance rate and 20% growth suppression, the estimate of an 100-year half-life could be considered a precipitous rate of decline, with a risk of extinction at about 500 years. In the absence of disturbance, and with a 20% growth reduction or differential between competing species, half-lives for species replacement ranged from 100+ to nearly 800 years. With lesser growth differentials, half-lives are much longer. Such gradual competitive displacement processes will be very difficult to detect in the field over periods of even decades. Results of this study have implications for exotic species invasions. It is predicted that intact forest is not truly resistant to invasion, but that invasion of shade-tolerant tree species should be very slow. Invasion of shade-intolerant species is predicted to be accelerated by disturbance, as has been frequently observed. Results of the simulations were supported by data compiled from several parts of the world.


Journal: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Volume: 121 Issues: 1-2 January 2004

- Climate changes and trends in phenology of fruit trees and field crops in Germany, 1961-2000

Frank-M. Chmielewski, Antje Müller and Ekko Bruns

pp 69-78


Distinct changes in air temperature since the end of the 1980s have led to clear responses in plant phenology in many parts of the world. In Germany phenological phases of the natural vegetation as well as of fruit trees and field crops have advanced clearly in the last decade of the 20th century. The strongest shift in plant development occurred for the very early spring phases. The late spring phases and summer phases reacted also to the increased temperatures, but they usually show lower trends. Until now the changes in plant development are still moderate, so that no strong impacts on yield formation processes were observed. But further climate changes will probably increase the effect on plants, so that in the future stronger impacts on crop yields are likely.


Journal: Climate Policy

Volume: 3 Issue: 4 December 2003

- Inter-trading permanent emissions credits and rented temporary carbon emissions offsets: some issues and alternatives

Roger A. Sedjo, Gregg Marland

pp 435-444


Permit trading among polluting parties is now firmly established as a policy tool in a range of environmental policy areas. The Kyoto Protocol accepts the principle that sequestration of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere can be used to offset emissions of carbon from fossil fuel combustion and outlines mechanisms. Although the lack of guaranteed permanence of biological offsets is often viewed as a defect, this paper argues that the absence of guaranteed permanence need not be a fundamental problem. We view carbon emissions as a liability issue. One purpose of an emissions credit system is to provide the emitter with a means to satisfy the carbon liability associated with her firm's (or country's) release of carbon into the atmosphere. We have developed and here expand on a rental approach, in which sequestered carbon is explicitly treated as temporary:the emitter temporarily satisfies his liability by temporarily "parking" his liability, for a fee, in a terrestrial carbon reservoir, or "sink," such as a forest or agricultural soil. Finally, the paper relates the value of permanent and temporary sequestration and argues that both instruments are tradable and have a high degree of substitutability that allows them to interact in markets


Journal: Climate Policy

Volume: 3 Issue: 4 December 2003

- Credited forest carbon sinks: how the cost reduction is allocated among countries and sectors

Johanna Pohjola, Leena Kerkelä, Raisa Mäkipää

pp 445-461


Forest carbon sinks have been included in the Kyoto Protocol as one of the mechanisms for mitigating climate change. Consequently, credited sinks decrease the need to reduce emissions. We analyse in detail both the economywide and the sectoral effects of inclusion of carbon sinks as agreed upon in Bonn and Marrakesh for the first commitment period of 2008-2012. The focus of our analysis is the special treatment for Canada and Japan that allows them larger sinks. The analysis is performed with the multi-region computable general equilibrium (CGE) model GTAP-E.

New Zealand benefits most from the inclusion of sinks as it gains large carbon sinks from afforestation. Also in Sweden, Canada and Japan the costs of achieving the emission target are considerably reduced. Of these countries, only Canada has high costs without sinks. Thus credited sinks partly reduce the difference in economic burden of achieving the Kyoto target among countries. Even though larger sinks clearly benefit Canada and Japan, their effect on other countries, either on the economywide or on the sectoral level, remains marginal. Allowing larger sinks is, indeed, of relatively minor importance for the world economy and emission reduction, compared to the US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.


Journal: Forest Ecology and Management

Volume: 187 Issues: 2-3 January 2004

- On simplifying allometric analyses of forest biomass

Dimitris Zianis, Maurizio Mencuccini

pp 311-332


Tree biomass plays a key role in sustainable management and in estimating forest carbon stocks. The most common mathematical model in biomass studies takes the form of the power function M=aDb where a and b are the allometric coefficients to be determined by empirical data, and M the total aboveground tree dry biomass for a specific diameter at breast height, D. In this study the development and comparison of three methods for simplifying allometric equations of aboveground biomass estimation are reported. Based on the criterion of the relative difference (RD) between observed and predicted biomass data, the small trees sampling scheme (SSS) predicted quite accurate estimates for raw data reported in 10 studies. The SSS equation was based on the hypothesis that information provided in published allometric equations, in conjunction with two pairs of empirical M-D values, are enough to obtain reliable predictions for aboveground stand biomass. In addition, predictions of M based on theoretical values of b were also tested with the RD criterion, but reliability of predictions in 10 studies is questioned. Finally, fractal geometry was used to develop a `reductionist' model for M estimation and implications from its implementation in biomass studies are discussed. We totally based our investigation on a metadata set derived from published aboveground biomass allometric studies conducted for different species spanning the globe.


Journal: Forest Ecology and Management

Volume: 188 Issues: 1-3 February 2004

- Biomass expansion factors (BEFs) for Scots pine, Norway spruce and birch according to stand age for boreal forests

A. Lehtonen, R. Mäkipää, J. Heikkinen, R. Sievänen, J. Liski pp211-224


Assessments of forest resource in national inventories provide a firm basis for quantifying forest biomass and carbon stock. National statistics on forest resources provide estimates of forest area, timber volume, and growth of timber by age classes with known precision. Estimates of carbon stock are, however, obtained by expanding the total stemwood volume to total biomass with simple conversion factors. The objective of this study was to improve the accuracy and reliability of the biomass expansion factors (BEFs) and to develop expansion factors that are dependent on stand age and dominant tree species. For development of BEFs, we applied volume and biomass equations to describe the allometry of single trees and a systematic network of forest inventory data to determine variation in stand structure. The results of this study indicate that the proportions of most biomass components vary considerably during the rotation. We conclude that the reliability of the national carbon stock inventory could be improved by applying these age-dependent BEFs, which are formulated on the basis of representative data and which include an estimate of uncertainty.


Journal: Forest Ecology and Management

Volume: 188 Issues: 1-3 February 2004

- Effects of deforestation on ecosystem carbon densities in central Saskatchewan, Canada

M. J. Fitzsimmons, D. J. Pennock, J. Thorpe

pp 349-361


Ecosystem carbon densities (aboveground vegetation plus soil organic carbon (SOC) to 45 cm depth) were compared for forested and deforested sites on hummocky glacial till landforms in central Saskatchewan. Six forest sites in Prince Albert National Park, six pasture sites in or near the Cookson Community Pasture, and six privately owned cultivated fields were sampled across a 30 000 ha study area (53°34'N, 106°20'W). The median ecosystem C density for forests (158 Mg C ha-1) was significantly greater (P<0.05) than the median for pastures (63 Mg C ha-1) and the median for cultivated fields (81 Mg C ha-1). For soil organic carbon alone, significant differences were not detected between forested and deforested sites. The range for SOC density across the study area was 51 Mg C ha-1 for natural forest sites, 54 Mg C ha-1 for pastures and 92 Mg C ha-1 for cultivated fields. Spatial variation in SOC densities within each treatment group precluded detection of land-use effects on SOC densities (expected to be 25 Mg C ha-1) with this research design. SOC may have been elevated at sites with shallower groundwater, but further research is required to confirm this and to identify the responsible processes. Differences in ecosystem C densities between the forested and deforested sites were primarily the result of differences in vegetation biomass. Median live plus dead vegetation C density for the forest group was 60 Mg C ha-1 greater than the pasture group (P<0.05) and 56 Mg C ha-1 greater than the cultivated group (P<0.15). Including estimated C in coarse roots and lesser vegetation at the forest sites would increasethese differences by approximately 15 Mg C ha-1. Accounting for disturbance processes such as forest fires, differences in vegetation carbon between forested and deforested sites in this study area are estimated to vary between 30 to 75 Mg C ha-1 over time. Continued agricultural expansion within the study area would result in losses of at least 30 Mg C ha-1. Recent ratification of the Kyoto protocol by Canada provides an incentive to curtail deforestation and initiate reforestation actions. Future reforestation with trembling aspen dominated vegetation in central Saskatchewan has the potential to sequester 30-75 Mg C ha-1 over the next 50-100 years. However, legislative protection or strong financial incentives will be required to secure long-term carbon gains through reforestation.

3) Climate Change News


EDS Kyoto Forest Owners in New Zealand are making "grossly misleading and self-delusional statements" about alleged nationalisation of forest sinks, according to the Environmental Defence Society (EDS).

[from Point Carbon]


Western Australia has the capacity to establish a 2.7 billion tonne carbon dioxide sink over a 30 year period by planting belts of mallee eucalypts on cleared agricultural land in the wheatbelt, according to Professor Syd Shea, the Chairman and Managing Director of The Oil Mallee Company of Australia Ltd.

[from Point Carbon]


Thailand will not accept projects involving reforestation and afforestation in exchange for carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM).

[from Point Carbon]


Japan is considering to include gardens in residential complexes and shrines into calculation of CO2 absorption in order to reach its Kyoto Protocol target.

[from Point Carbon]


The Canadian government announced an investment of $20 million in the Forest 2020

Plantation initiative.

[from Point Carbon]


Germany's Environment Minister, Jürgen Trittin, has written this article in the Financial Times.

[from Point Carbon]


Although the warmer weather could not be attributed to a single cause, it was part of a global warming trend. UN Wire summary:

WMO statement:

[from eCarbon News]

4) New Publications:


by Christoph Sutter

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol seeks to foster sustainable development. How can one assess the contribution of a given CDM project to a specific sustainability objective? This book provides a systematic overview of various approaches on how to assess the sustainability of CDM projects. The methodology Multi-Attributive Assessment of CDM (MATA-CDM), which evaluates CDM projects by means of 12 clearly defined criteria, is presented and discussed in detail. It produces comprehensive and pragmatic sustainability profiles of CDM projects. The methodology has been tested in case studies in India and South Africa. The administration of Uruguay is currently implementing MATA-CDM in order to officially approve CDM projects. Based on these experiences the book recommends a streamlined methodology for host country approvals. See further details:

Download an E-version (free of chagre) at:

Hardcopy: Order via bookshops

(ISBN 3-936846-59-6)

or write to the author:

5) Web sites of interest:


The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) has published "Greenhouse gas Market 2003: Emerging but fragmented" With contributions from Point Carbon, Natsource, BP, PWC, CO2e and many others. Download it from:


According to a World Bank study, the volume emission-reduction transactions for greenhouse gasses has more than doubled for the second consecutive year, going from nearly 30 million tons in 2002, to 70 million tons as of November 2003. The 2003 number is five times the 13 million tons traded in 2001. Carbon finance provides opportunities for companies and governments in industrialized countries to receive emission reduction credits in exchange for investments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transition economies and developing countries. Most of this money - about 90 percent -- now flows to Bank client countries, but Africa and small developing countries have been essentially bypassed, according to the Bank's third annual State of the Carbon Market 2003 report, released in Milan at the Ninth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Download the report at: (in the right-hand side box)


GRID-Arendal produced an update of emissions graphics of 32 of the Annex-I countries to the Kyoto Protocol. The data comes from the Third National communications collected by the UNFCCC. This fourth volume of graphics is downloadable at:


An initiative sponsored by WWF, GTZ, FSC and UNEP-WCMC - contains global and regional maps, tables, pie charts and graphs, both to view on screen AND ready to download "off the shelf" as sets of global and/or regional powerpoint slides.


JIQ - December 2003 - Vol.9 - No.3 can be downloaded directly at:

6) Climate Change Jobs

World Resources Institute - Global Forest Watch Project Manager for North America

Several other employment opportunities provided by the Canadian Forests Newsletter. Visit directly:

**** for all FAO Vacancies visit: ****

Thank you for your inputs for this issue:
Lera Miles

The objective of CLIM-FO-L is to be a forum for sharing current information and experiences about climate change and forestry amongst experts and non-experts. CLIM-FO-L will send periodically to subscribers synopsis of contributions, indicating how to obtain more detailed information on the topic. CLIM-FO-L is a service provided by the FAO Forest Products Division (FOP).




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