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Carbon Stock Assessments

An increasing number of key players in the natural resources sector have made commitments to tackling deforestation linked to commodity production. Proforest carries out high carbon stock (HCS) assessments to support producers and purchasers to comply with their ‘no deforestation’ commitments.

As well as carrying out HCS assessments, Proforest also provides technical support to processes to bring together different approaches to High Carbon Stock assessments, and to support their convergence with other processes such as the High Conservation Value (HCV) approach and Free, Prior, Informed Consent.

What is the High Carbon Stock Approach?

The High Carbon Stock (HCS) approach builds on work carried out in 2011 by Greenpeace, The Forest Trust (TFT) and the palm oil company Golden-Agri Resources Limited (GAR). It aims to provide a practical, scientifically robust and cost-effective methodology to define and protect viable forest areas and achieve companies’ ‘no deforestation’ commitments.

How does it work?

An HCS assessment is carried out in two main phases through a combination of remote and field work:

  1. Vegetation classification. Based on a preliminary analysis of satellite imagery following existing national land cover class systems.
  2. Screening of HCS/forest areas identified in the first assessment phase against biodiversity conservation criteria, with the objective of preserving and protecting viable areas that can revert to natural ecological functioning as forest.

How can we help you?

Our carbon assessment services are tailored to the differing needs of our clients in this rapidly developing field. We can work with you to carry out an initial scoping study, or a full assessment using a variety of methods (for example, a basic carbon stock inventory or full HCS approach assessment) in any area that has forest cover or high levels of carbon.

We can combine HCS and HCV assessments to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the conservation and management implications for any production environment.

Where do we work?

We have built on our experience in field studies to evaluate carbon stocks as standalone assessments, as well as in parallel with HCV assessments or the HCS approach to maximise cost-effectiveness.

We have put this into practice for large-scale plantation developments for different commodities (including pulp and paper, and palm oil) in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Future development

We are actively following the development of the HCS Approach, led by Greenpeace, TFT and other partners, as well as the work of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto HCS study group. We are observers on both processes, helping to define an agreed methodology for the assessment of carbon stocks. We are also working with a broad group of partners to integrate HCS with the existing HCV and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) processes, and to ensure that these distinct tools dovetail in a coordinated, efficient and cost-effective way.

Proforest was also engaged by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to update its carbon calculator tool for new oil palm planting. This was developed in response to a new requirement under the revised RSPO Principles & Criteria that new plantation developments should minimise net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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