Methods for establishing baseline emission rates for REDD projects

International negotiations aimed at reducing emissions from tropical forest deforestation and degradation (REDD+) through carbon trading are gathering momentum, with numerous pilot projects around the world currently at the design or early-implementation stage. Polluters investing in REDD+ projects to offset carbon emissions will seek assurances that emissions reductions are genuine, requiring the development of robust and transparent monitoring systems to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. Emissions Reductions will be calculated by comparing actual emissions during an implementation period with the predicted emissions, based on models of how much carbon would have been emitted under a business-as-usual scenario. Surprisingly, little thought has been given to how the predictive models should be structured. Our consortium is well placed to make advances in this area because we have a track record of involvement in carbon projects (Plant Sciences), international policy development (UNEP-WCMC) and tropical forest conservation (RSPB).

Other CCI-funded projects in Gola Forest related to this one include:

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

The aim of this project was to develop and test integrated methods for assessing emissions reductions from REDD+ projects, and perform sensitivity analyses to explore the merits of alternative approaches. Project outputs include collaborative publications examining the principles involved in calculating baselines and emissions reductions for REDD+ projects, reports giving details of analyses conducted and a summary document intended for possible inclusion in the Global Observation of Forest and Landcover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) sourcebook of methods.

Conservation Impact

This project improved the transparency of methods used to calculate emissions reductions, and aimed to steer international policy development towards the adoption of our approaches. The project adopted the appropriate sections of the CCF Project Evaluation Tool to monitor project activities.


  1. Paper: "Optical and SAR sensor synergies for forest and land cover mapping in a tropical site in West Africa" to be published in the Internationl Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation in April 2013 (abstract available on line)
  2. Poster: "What is the value of secondary forest for REDD+ in Sierra Leone" was presented at at the Climate Change, deforestation and the Future of African Rainforests conference in Oxford in January, 2012.

CCI partners Involved

The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...

Other Organisations Involved

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Optical and SAR sensor synergies for forest and land cover mapping in a tropical site in West Africa The classification of tropical fragmented landscapes and moist forested areas is a challenge due to the presence of a continuum of vegetation successional stages, persistent cloud cover and the... Journal articles
Poster: ' What is the value of secondary forest for REDD+ in Sierra Leone' This poster was presented at at the “Climate Change, deforestation and the Future of African Rainforests” conference in Oxford in January, 2012. Suggested citation:Wilebore, B. et al. (2012) Poster:... Talks and presentations