T4N: Create CO2 certificates using biodiversity measures

Porini Foundation
Published: 11 October 2023
Last edited: 11 October 2023
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Summary

Biodiversity actions can create carbon sinks which and open up a way to bring these CO2 Certificates onto market. In this Tech4Nature pilot study, we calculated the amount of CO2 sequestered through management activities for Capercaillie (an endangered bird species in Switzerland) in the Schwägalp - Bruggerwald forest reserve.

 

The goal of this pilot study is to test the assumptions made in the newly developed Green List Standard for Carbon (GLS+). GLS+ is an independent Standard but 60% of the indicators are based on the existing IUCN Green List Standard for protected and conserved areas to achieve effective, equitable, and successful conservation outcomes.

 

The Tech4Nature Pilot is run on real data generated through a biodiversity intervention in the year 2021 to favor the locally endangered Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) but was only testing the potential for CO2 certificates without creating them.

Classifications

Region
West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Theme
Species management
Sustainable financing
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of access to long-term funding
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land

Location

Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Switzerland
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Challenges

  1. Conservation of the Capercaillie: Creating a suitable habitat for the conservation of the Capercaillie, a locally endangered bird species. This involves

  2. Biodiversity enhancement through sustainable wood extraction: Opening up the dense forest to create an appropriate ecosystem for the Capercaillie and enhance overall biodiversity within the reserve while benefitting the forester by using the extracted wood in long-terme structures. Thus, binding the CO2 over time, necessary for the creation of CO2 certificates

  3. Avoiding previous logging and land conversion: The area must meet the additional requirement of not having been previously logged for carbon credit generation or undergone conversion from its original forested state. 

  4. C02 sequestration and baseline estimation: Accurately calculating CO2 sequestration by establishing a baseline without any intervention and identifying the gap between this baseline and the expected outcomes through the implemented measures.

Beneficiaries

  • The forest reserve
  • Foresters
  • The key species
  • Community of Urnäch
  • Potential investors

How do the building blocks interact?

In order to be able to isssue CO2 certificates for a certain project, all building blocks must be achieved.

Impacts

60% of the requirements for the Green List Standard (GLS) are also necessary for the tested GLS+ Standard. Starting the GLS+ process for carbon could therefore lead the path to the GLS certification and vice versa.

 

GLS+ is adding the possibility to create high quality carbon credits and the new funds generated can be used to help finance protected and conserved areas to improve their governance and management performance and facilitate their journey towards IUCN Green List certification.


The estimated sequestered amount of 42.08 (tC/ha) and the value represented of approx. 1’000 USD/ ha, does not cover the deficit/ ha for the intervention in our Swiss Pilot project, but the additional funding will allow the extension of the treated area in favour of the Capercaillie. 

 

This model could be attractive to implement in other parts of the world, with lower management cost and where this additional stream could help fill in existing funding gaps.

 

The managed area has been improved for the Capercaillie and at the same time a part of the costs can be covered throuh the GLS+ process generating CO2 certificates.

Story

Porini Foundation

Swiss managed forest have become overmature as logging and managing these areas include important financial efforts. As a result, many forests have become dense and to dark to be suitable habitat for typical species like the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), which has since become a rare species in the Swiss Alps. Opening up the forests quickly improves the habitat for these species but logging in these difficult conditions is a costly exercise. In order to increase the surface managed in favour for Capercaillie, we examined the possibilities and conditions to be met in order to co-finance such habitat intervention through CO2 certificates. 

 

As a part of the Tech4Nature Initiative, a partnership agreement between Huawei and IUCN, we examined an old cut from 2021, where all information are now readily available, to estimate the expected CO2 equivalents for a new cut. By respecting the necessary conditions like additionality, double-counting, long-term sequestration and the business as usual base-line, we have been able to demonstrate that biodiversity measures do generate CO2 certificates which can be sold on the voluntary carbon market. We used different models, satellite pictures as well as Lidar and GIS to calculate different scenarios and estimated a mean equivalent of 42 CO2 tons per hectare sequestered through the opening up of the forests. This represents around 1000 USD/ ha which is a important contribution to reduce the costs for biodiversity measures in these step mountainous areas.  

Contributed by

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Roman Eyholzer Porini Foundation