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UNFCCC Getting Reference Levels and MRV Right for Organic Soils


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This presentation for the UNFCCC meeting in Panama, 2011 provides key input for the correct accounting of carbon emissions from organic soils.

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UNFCCC Getting Reference Levels and MRV Right for Organic Soils

  1. 1. Getting Reference Levels and MRV Right for Organic Soils Panama, 3 October 2011 Susanna Tol, Wetlands International Hans Joosten, Greifswald University / IMCG
  2. 2. Peatlands 2ecosystems where - under conditions of permanent water saturation - dead and decaying plant material has accumulated to form a thick organic soil layer
  3. 3. Mitigation hotspots 3 3Key role in global climate regulation:• The most concentrated and most important reservoirs of terrestrial carbon: 550 Gton C.• 2 Gton CO2 /year from drained peatland• From only 50 million ha = 0.3% of world land areaHigh value biodiversity & environmental services HOTSPOTS FOR REDD AND NAMA’S
  4. 4. In which countries? 4 Very large Belarus: Finland: 67 Mt/CO2/yr 41 Mt/CO2/yr stocks inCanada and Russia: 160 Germany: 32 Mt/CO2/yr Alaska Mt/CO2/yr US: Poland: China: 77 Mt/CO2/yr Mongolia:67 Mt/CO2/yr 24 Mt/CO2/yr 45 Mt/CO2/yr SE Asia: Large stocks in peat CO2 South America, = 70% e.g. Peru Brazil: of all its 12 Mt/CO2/yr fossil fuel CO2 Sub-Sahara Africa: peat CO2 = 25% of all its fossil fuel CO2Find stocks and emissions from all countries at
  5. 5. Reference levels 5• After clearing and draining, emissions from peatlandcontinue for decades, or even centuries• To be reported for all these years Consequences for recording progress towardsmeeting emission reduction targets
  6. 6. Reference levels 6 6A constant rate of deforestation A constant rate of peatland drainagekeeps the annual GHG emissions increases annual GHG emissionsconstant because deforesting an because the emissions from newlyarea implies a once-off emission. drained peatland add to those of already drained peatland.
  7. 7. Reference levels 7
  8. 8. Reference levels 8
  9. 9. Reference levels 9 Conclusion
  10. 10. 10 Consequences for REDD+Only way to reduce emissions from peatlands is:1. Prevent any further peatland degradation in orderto maintain annual GHG emissions from peatland onthe status quo level;and simultaneously2. Rewet already degraded and drained peatlands inorder to reduce annual emissions from peatland.
  11. 11. 11 Consequences for REDD+Reasons for preventing new drainage:• Emissions from new drainage come on top of ongoing emissions from already drained areas• Not all wetlands can be restored and not all emissions can be stopped at all times from rewetting. Rewetting can not 1:1 compensate for drainage.• The amount of peatlands that need to be rewetted to compensate emissions from new drainage is not realistic Peatlands should become NO-GO Zones
  12. 12. 12Priorities for achieving reduction targets 1. Preventing further peatland degradation: • No more conversion: undisturbed peatlands must become NO GO ZONES • Existing concessions must be revoked and shift to already degraded mineral soils • Supply chains must exclude products from drained peatlands 2. Rewetting drained peatlands: • Restore peat soils where possible • Paludicultures for severely degraded soils
  13. 13. Peatland MRV• Peatlands: complex and different from other ecosystems Develop sophisticated MRV methodologies?• Peatland emissions increase rapidly when conversion and degradation proceeds Stop radically NO GO! Make rapidly a practical MRV system. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  14. 14. Peatland MRV• Monitoring a peat swamp moratorium is simple:• In peatlands, the interdependency between vegetation, peat and water is very tight Deterioration of any of these components leads to degradation and to increased emissions Each component can be used as an indicator for the condition of the entire system
  15. 15. Peatland MRV• Emissions increase by: – removing (substantial) tree biomass – increasing drainage and subsequent peat oxidation – fire Monitor changes in crown structure/cover and drainage infrastructure
  16. 16. Peatland MRV• Simple monitoring can be based on – peat soil maps: high priority!! – wall-to-wall remote sensing of land use/cover using high-resolution satellite imagery – simple conservative algorithms for assessing emission effects of land use change, and – default emission factors for the identified types of land use/cover (cf. new literature, IPCC 2013 revision)• This would be sufficient to guard the current peatswamp emission situation.
  17. 17. peat soil maps: high priority!!
  18. 18. wall-to-wall remote sensing
  19. 19. Peatland MRVdefault emission factors for land use/cover types
  20. 20. Peatland MRV• Refine on district/project level:• use water level and subsidence to assess emission reductions from rewetting/reforestation.• Further knowledge will refine the monitoring
  21. 21. Further knowledge will refine the monitoring
  22. 22. Peatland MRVMonitor all peatland as part of REDD+, because they are intensively interlinked: – primary peat swamp forests, – degraded peat swamp forests, – secondary peat swamp forests, – deforested peatland areas, – agricultural areas on peat, – plantations on peat and – abandoned agricultural areas on peat.
  23. 23. Damani, Panama, March 2011
  24. 24. Damani, Panama, May 2011
  25. 25. Damani, Panama, June 2011
  26. 26. Damani, Panama, Sept. 2011
  27. 27. PeatlandMRV Peatlad MRV• Peatland conversion is extremely rapid and largely irreversible• Peatland conversion leads to persistent and increasing emissions Peatlands NO GOs for further conversion Include all peatland in REDD+ monitoring Rapidly implement a simple and practical MRV system.Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good!
  28. 28. THANK YOU More information: 22 Oktober 1997Reforestation in Indonesia Rewetting in Indonesia