Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change vol:13 issue:3 pages:219-239
Within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol, countries have significant latitude to define a forest. The most important parameter affecting area designated as forest is the minimum crown cover which can be set between 10 and 30%. The choice will have implications for the amount of land available in a country for afforestation and reforestation activities within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM-AR). In this paper, we present an analysis of the regional differences in land availability for CDM-AR projects. We then examine how the choice of a high or low threshold value for crown cover will affect the area available for CDM activities and how the limitations imposed by this element of the definition compares to other factors that are likely to limit CDM activities. Results represent a global analysis that included all countries not included in Annex I of the Kyoto Protocol, and examined the effect on land availability of a range of crown cover thresholds ranging from 10–30%. Of the 140 Non-Annex One countries, 107 countries were found to have a potential for CDM-AR projects. Asia had the largest amount of combined area suitable for CDM-AR at the 10% crown cover threshold level. However, at 30%, South America had the greatest amount of land available, and a large change in available land area, which increased by almost five times compared to what was available at the 10% threshold. The area available in Africa increased by a factor of 5.5. Central America showed the largest increase, to almost 10 times more at the 30% threshold. By contrast, within Asia, the area increase was comparatively less, but still the area nearly doubled. Globally, a low threshold of 10% crown cover excluded almost 2/3 of the land identified that was eligible at 30%, over 5 million km2. The spatial analyses showed not only the effects of the choice of the crown cover criterion, but also where the land was available for CDM activities within each country at different thresholds. Protected areas account for 10–20% of the CDM-AR eligible area in most countries.