To compare forest area, forest loss and carbon emissions associated with that loss in the various REDD+ intervention areas of CIFOR-GCS, there is a need for one consistent method. Here, we follow FAO (2000) and define forests as areas with at least 10% tree cover. We make use of existing global datasets that cover the entire tropics and thus all of the initiatives in the CIFOR-GCS sample. Potentially higher quality, local data are not always available or directly comparable due to different methods and assumptions. The intervention areas vary significantly in location, size and composition (i.e. ranging from complete provinces to a group of relatively small scattered plots). These differences may have a considerable influence on the forest loss and emission values.