Indufor, together with its partners Forest Consult and Geo-Info Systems Developers (GISD), recently completed the Forest MRV project in Ghana. The project involved the development of the methods and approaches for reference emissions levels and the measurement, reporting and verification system for forest carbon stocks in Ghana.
The main objective of the assignment was to support Ghana, and the Forestry Commission of Ghana in the development of REDD+ reference levels and systems for Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of REDD+ using suitable approaches. These are based on analyses of forest inventory, remote sensing applications and other means of monitoring, as well as historical data. This approach strengthens national capacities.
The Project commenced in 2013 as part of the REDD Readiness Preparedness Program approved under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, managed by the World Bank. The work was guided by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidance (2003), the Global Forest Observation Initiative (GFOI) Methods and Guidance Document (MGD) and the GOFC-GOLD Source book (Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics, 2012).
The Ghana Forest MRV project undertook a review of the existing national land use and land cover classification scheme, and the accuracy of existing land-use assessments and carbon stock and inventory data. It assisted in the development of reference levels for emissions following international protocols, and the development of methods and approaches for establishing a national MRV system and a capacity-
building plan in close consultation with the national REDD+ Secretariat and key national and international stakeholders. There is a specific focus on cocoa landscapes in Ghana in terms of REDD+: whether the cocoa plantations should be considered as forests or not. For cocoa landscapes, the areas of planted cocoa under shade may meet Ghana’s forest definition. All other areas of cocoa are mapped as cropland. Alternatively, Ghana could adopt a definition for cropland which includes areas that meet the definition of forest, but are planted to cocoa.
Emissions from degradation have not yet been quantified due to data limitations. However, from canopy cover analysis prepared in 2010 it is estimated that approximately 3.1 million hectares or 67% of the forest land is subject to gradual carbon stock loss. This is consistent with the current understanding of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana. The continued monitoring of emissions and removals requires that ongoing efforts be supported. The project developed a number of operational documents (Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs) which, once implemented and with the institutional arrangements in place, allow the collection of the relevant data on changes in carbon stocks and enhancement in carbon stocks to become routine.
Peter Moore, Team Leader, Ghana Forest MRV Project
Anni Blåsten, Senior Consultant