A key feature of REDD+ is that it should be performance- or result-based, which, quite obviously, requires that results will have to be measured. The ultimate outcome is measured in terms of reduced tonnes GHG emissions (or increased removals), and this requires essentially two types of information:
- Activity information (e.g. area converted from primary forest to other land-use); and
- Emissions factors (e.g. reduction in carbon per hectare when converted from primary forest to other land-use)
The lack of reliable data on carbon stocks and emissions factors in many developing countries implies that a performance-based system using changes in forest carbon, as the criterion will be difficult to implement for some time. In the medium term, most payments will be for readiness and policy reforms, rather than for proven emissions reductions. Hence, good performance indicators are critical for all three REDD+ phases, particularly where the focus is on policy performance.
The key objective of our research is to look critically at constraints to MRV posed by the lack of emissions factors for important types of land use change and key carbon pools in tropical as well as dry forest ecosystems.