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Outline of the methodology

The methods and procedures described below are directed to those concerned with the assessment of the current status of carbon stocks, biodiversity and land degradation in a given geographical area, typically a watershed, and with the development of scenarios of carbon sequestration, biodiversity and land degradation or restoration resulting from potential land use and management changes.

The methods focus on taking stock of the current situation and then projecting the scenarios of changes that would occur if LUCs were implemented. In doing so, they do not attempt to concentrate on any particular type of ecosystem, i.e. forest, agriculture, pastureland, etc. Rather, they tackle the present land use in the geographic area of concern, i.e. the watershed. Thus, the focus is on assessing what is present in the area of concern, i.e. forests, agroforestry, agricultural crops or grasslands, or mixtures of the above, depending on the present land use in the ecological zone being assessed.

The methodology attempts to address the four main interlinked areas of concern, namely:

The last area of concern is dealt with only indirectly, through formulating LUCs that meet the first three areas of concern but also provide for staple foods and income.

The meeting point of these concerns, crucial to addressing the interlinkages between them, is LUC.

These four areas of concern may be thought of as objectives that need to be optimized simultaneously. Interventions in any ecosystem in order to optimize the above objectives can be made through LUC and the improvement of ecosystem and land management practices. Thus, for any given area of the world, the methodology sets out to:

The methodology consists of four main sections or modules (one for each main area of concern). Within each module, it assesses the current situation and evaluates promising alternatives by creating scenarios. The sections are:

Details of procedures and activities in each of the modules are provided below. The methods described are part of a proposal advanced as a methodological framework. The procedures may require adaptation to the particular circumstances of the environment where the framework is being applied. It is not claimed that the framework is perfect or complete. In some instances, it may require further elaboration for its implementation in practice. This report provides the technical details of the three main modular components of the methodology, namely:

For reasons of length and detail, issues pertaining to multicriteria optimization are only dealt with conceptually. Thus, the following is a detailed description of procedures and methods by modules in that order.

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