Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

Tool Details

Choosing a forest definition for the Clean Development Mechanism

Author Neeff, T., von Luepke, H. & Schoene, D.
Year of publication 2006
Developing countries must define "forest" before they can host afforestation and reforestation projects under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. To do so, they must chose country-specific values from a range provided in the Marrakech Accords for minimum area, crown cover and tree height. Good practice involves choosing also a minimum strip width. Definitions in the Marrakech Accords and in the 2003 IPCC Good Practice Guidance leave some ambiguities. Existing country definitions of "forest" do not contain all or, sometimes, any quantitative parameters; simply adopting them for the CDM is not an option. Therefore, all developing countries vying for forestry projects under the CDM will have to choose parameter values. Only few have done so up to now. Parameter values affect land eligibility for the CDM, feasibility of project types and match with national policy goals. Choosing parameter values that maximize eligibility and feasibility may conflict with those that match economic and socio-environmental expectations. Given a multitude of goals and project types, a large spectrum of sites, current land-uses and ownership patterns, there are no generally valid, optimal choices. A stepwise decision process and simple graphical techniques provided here may aid NAI countries in choosing optimal parameter values for the forest definition.
Type of Tool
Guidelines, manual, kits for trainers
Scale of Application
Forest Type
All forest types (natural and planted)
Primary Designated Function
Management Responsibility