REPORTS - SPECIAL REPORTS

Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry


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5.3.2.1. Alternative Approaches Proposed for Establishing Baselines

The main choices to be considered when deciding on how to establish a baseline are as follows:

  • Project specific versus generic: Should baselines be developed as a case-by-case, project-specific exercise, or could they be based on generic data that are aggregated in a "top-down" approach? Should baselines be developed by project proponents or by independent bodies (regional, national, or international institutions)?
  • Fixed or adjustable: Should baselines established at the start of the project be maintained for the project's lifetime or be periodically adjusted?
  • Simple or complex models: Should baselines be derived by simple extrapolation of past trends in the use of land, or should they be derived from models that attempt to simulate the driving forces of change?

These options are discussed below. Table 5-4 provides examples of how baselines of different pilot projects have been constructed.

Table 5-4: Approaches used by different projects to establish baselines.

  Baseline Issues
Type of Project Project-Specific or Generic Approach Used to Establish Baseline Fixed or Adjustable Reference

Avoided Emissions        
Noel Kempf Climate Action Project, Bolivia Project-specific Simple logical argument based on adjusting observed trends; quantification of baseline carbon done in proxy areas Adjustable, based on changes of demand for timber, changes in marketable species, forest law, and rates of deforestation Brown et al. (2000)
Reduced Impact Logging, Sabah, Malaysia Project-specific Simple logical argument, based on assuming continuation of business-as-usual trends; quantification of baseline carbon done in control plots Fixed Pinard and Putz (1997)
Rio Bravo Carbon Sequestration Project, Belize Project-specific Simple logical argument, based on assuming continuation of business-as-usual trends Fixed Programme for Belize (1997)

Sequestration        
Farm Forestry Scolel Te Pilot Project, Chiapas, Mexico Mixed approach Regional land-use model with community-specific adjustments based on land-use needs Fixed Tipper et al. (1998)
INFAPRO Rainforest Rehabilitation, Malaysia Project-specific Simple logical argument, based on assuming continuation of business-as-usual trends; quantification of baseline carbon done in control plots Fixed Moura-Costa et al. (1996)

Multi-Component (avoided emissions and sequestration)        
Protected Areas Project and Private Forests Project, Costa Rica Generic, set by Costa Rican Office for Joint Implementation (OCIC) Simple logical argument, based on adjusting current land-use trends; quantification of baseline carbon based on literature values No adjustments planned SGS (1998)
Guaraque´┐Żaba Climate Action Project, Brazil Project-specific Spatial land-use models incorporating socioeconomic factors Adjustable, to recalibrate model at frequent intervals Brown et al. (1999a)



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