Forest-based Projects

Forest-based: rainforest, school, deforestation, bonobo, oil palm, health, forest patrols

stop massive amounts of stored carbon re-entering the atmosphere

establish a monetary value for keeping the forest standing

help community and infrastructure development

maintain traditional customs and lifestyles

transform local forest-based economies

improve social equity

protect biodiversity

Forest-based projects protect, restore or enhance a forest ecosystem’s function

Consequently, the forest, its biodiversity and the services it provides to local people are maintained

These projects act on the terrestrial carbon sink which is sequestering (extracting and holding) carbon from the atmosphere

Use your purchase of carbon offsets to drive amazing sustainability outcomes

The Scale of Deforestation and Degradation

Annual deforestation between 2015 and 2020
10 million hectares

 Forest converted to other land uses since 1990
420 million hectares

Tropical deforestation (2000-2010)
40% caused by large-scale commercial agriculture
Mostly cattle ranching and soya bean and oil palm cultivation

Subsistence agriculture accounted for 33%

World’s Forests

2/3 of the world’s 4,000 million ha of forests are found in 10 countries

  • Beyond Neutral offers forest-based offsets from 4 of these:
    Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia and Peru

About 80% of the world’s forests are found in patches larger than 1 million hectares

  • the rest occurs in over 34 million patches, the vast majority of which are under 1,000 hectares in size

 

Primary forest makes up more than 1/3 of forests

Worldwide, there are over 80 million hectares less primary forest today than existed in 1990

Primary forests are naturally regenerated forests of native species, where there are no visible indications of human activities and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed

FAO’s State of the World’s Forests, 2020

Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2021) – “Forests and Deforestation”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/forests-and-deforestation’ [Online Resource]

Access carbon credits from certified and independently audited forest-based projects from around the world

Forest-based Offsets are Nature-based Solutions

Forest-based carbon offset projects are climate projects that protect, restore or enhance an ecosystem and so fall under the broad category of Nature-based Solutions

 

Generating sustainability co-benefits beyond carbon, they help sustain communities, enhance ecosystem functions, improve resilience, arrest biodiversity declines and so much more

 

Nature-based climate solutions use ecosystem services to provide a sustainability dividend to address the twin imperatives of climate change and sustainability

Where a project using a Nature-based Solution is able to quantify its impact on carbon in a way that satisfies the requirements of a carbon credit Standard like VCS, carbon offsets can be generated

Forest-based project types like REDD+, Reforestation and Improved Forest Management are well established options with accepted methodologies used to create carbon credits

Newer types of Nature-based Solutions include “blue carbon” using coastal ecosystems like mangroves, tidal marshes and/or sea grasses, as well as “soil carbon” in agricultural ecosystems

REDD+
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation

Initial deforestation - slash and burn area is planted out with crop
Initial deforestation - slash and burn area is planted out with crop

Standing forest contains vast stores of carbon in the trees and soil

Deforestation sees this stored carbon released quickly during a change in land use

  • when the forest is removed and the land converted to agriculture, pasture, mining, urban areas

Degradation of the forest is “death by 1000 cuts”

  • each load of fuelwood, charcoal etc reduces the carbon stored by a forest ecosystem but the land isn’t converted to some other land use

Both processes impact an ecosystem’s function and consequently, the biodiversity and the services it provides to local people

slash and burn agriculture beside road - Ecuador Amazon
Slash and burn agriculture - recently burnt and previously cleared patches beside road- Ecuador Amazon

REDD+ reduces emissions, empowers communities and supports biodiversity

Why Does Deforestation Occur?

Deforestation is driven by both illegal activities and legal operations sanctioned by government

Causes of deforestation include

  • poverty
  • shifting subsistence agriculture
  • clearing for pasture (e.g. cattle), plantations (e.g oil palm) or cropping (e.g. palm oil or soy bean)
  • fuelwood and charcoal production
  • logging for timber
  • infrastructure (e.g. roads, powerlines, dams, urban areas etc)
  • mining (gold, diamonds, cobalt, other rare earths)
  • migration and population pressures
deforestation, illegal gold mining, burnt forest, cattle, road - Brazil
Deforestation in Brazil - illegal gold mining, burnt forest, cattle, road

REDD+ projects protect some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems and support some of the world’s poorest communities

What is REDD+

“REDD+ is a framework created by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) to guide activities in the forest sector that reduces emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the sustainable management of forests and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.”

(UNFCCC)

The REDD+ framework is known as the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ as it was adopted at COP 19 in Warsaw, December 2013.  REDD+ is also recognized in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement

Recently cleared rainforest being prepared for oil palm plantation - Kalimantan
Recently cleared rainforest being prepared for oil palm plantation - Kalimantan

REDD+ projects are located in areas where deforestation and/or forest degradation is actively occurring and is expected to severely impact the standing forest into the future

The projects are located in biodiversity hot-spots which are under immediate threat

They work with local communities made up of some of the world’s poorest people living in and around the forest

Satellite image of deforestation following roads in Brazil
Satellite image of deforestation following roads in Brazil in area

REDD+ projects are on the deforestation frontier and act to protect existing forest from being lost

Carbon offsets from REDD+ projects are created by quantifying the amount of carbon that would otherwise have been lost to the atmosphere

The emissions not released are credited and can be used as a carbon offset

 

When you buy a REDD+ carbon offset, you are buying the emissions not released from the forest

The projects use established and accepted methodologies developed by VCS and verified by accredited third parties

Additional accreditation of the project’s sustainability co-benefits is provided by Climate, Communities, Biodiversity Standards (CCB)

All REDD+ projects generating VCS carbon offsets have addressed key criteria like

  • permanence
  • additionality
  • leakage
  • being real
  • conservative in claims
  • measurable and verifiable
deforestation - smoke rising off recently cleared and burnt forest
Smoke rising off recently cleared and burnt forest

Every REDD+ project has to set aside a risk-adjusted percentage of their verified credits into the VCS buffer pool to manage the risk of a release of sequestered carbon (reversal)

At the beginning of 2022, there were over 58 million tonnes held in the buffer

If a reversal occurs in a project that cannot be recovered, that amount of credits can be cancelled from the buffer pool

REDD+ carbon credits not only reduce emissions, they can transform local forest-based economies, improve social equity, help community and infrastructure development, protect biodiversity, maintain traditional customs and lifestyles by establishing a monetary value for keeping the standing forest as opposed to chopping it down

Reforestation/ Afforestation

Reforestation/ Afforestation involves establishment of vegetation across a landscape that was cleared historically and has been used for another purpose (e.g. cropping)

The land cannot have been cleared recently – this avoids the perverse incentive to clear forest to then replant it and claim carbon credits

These types of forest-based projects develop a carbon sink, sequestering (extracting and holding) carbon that is already in the atmosphere

They generate other environmental benefits associated with increasing tree cover, especially if the planting is species rich

  • biodiversity enhancements
  • decreased soil erosion
  • improved micro-climates

They have to meet the typical criteria for all quality carbon credits, addressing the same issues as REDD+ projects

They also require risk management plans to avoid the loss of stored carbon as well as the allocation of credits to a buffer

The pooling of various locations under one project helps to spread risk spatially

When you buy a reforestation carbon offset, you are buying the emissions sequestered into the trees

Improved Forest Management (IFM)

Improved Forest Management involves changes to the management regimes of a forest

It often involves a change from regular logging to protecting the existing forests, removing any logging rights, suppressing illegal logging activity and managing the forest in a way that enhances its growth and health

The same criteria need to be met as the other types of forest-based credits

Project Examples

Kenya

VCS 612

Kasigau Corridor Phase II
CCB: Climate Gold, Biodiversity Gold

Protects 169,000 ha of primary forest threatened by mosaic deforestation from slash and burn agriculture and illegal charcoal

Beyond the Carbon

300 year old trees, 50+ large mammal, 20+ bat and 300+ bird species. Education, eco-tourism, agroforestry, organic clothing, eco-charcoal, anti-poaching patrols

 

Cambodia

VCS 1650

Keo Seima
CCB: Biodiversity Gold

Protects 166,000 ha of forest threatened by unplanned deforestation from illegal land conversion, logging and poaching

Beyond the Carbon

Forest provides basic needs and traditional cultural identity for about 12,500 people.  41 globally threatened vertebrate species (4 critically endangered and 14 endangered)

Indonesia

VCS 674

Rimba Raya
CCB: Climate Gold, Community Gold, Biodiversity Gold

Protects 91,000 ha of tropical peat swamp forest threatened by deforestation for conversion to oil palm plantation

Beyond the Carbon

Area contains 360+ bird, 120+ mammal and 180+ tree and woody plant species.  Safe water, cookstoves, solar lighting, increased healthcare access, patrolling and reforestation

Peru

VCS 844

Madre de Dios
CCB: Climate Gold, Biodiversity Gold

Protects 98,000 ha of forest threatened by unplanned deforestation resulting from improved road access to the area

Beyond the Carbon

15 endangered species.  Increases employment, improves education and training, conserves livelihood of indigenous communities (at least 5 different tribes)

Real, Verified not Future, Promised

Carbon offsets sold by Beyond Neutral are based on either a project’s actual, verified non-release of stored carbon or its carbon sequestration

We do not sell future sequestration or avoided emissions based on expectations of future performance

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Buying carbon offsets from Beyond Neutral is easy

All the projects sold by Beyond Neutral are accredited under either VCS or Gold Standard , so the offset you buy has been created by a project

  • that follows a specific methodology
  • has been verified as having occurred by one of that Standard’s third party verification bodies
  • is tracked in that Standard’s Registry using a unique serial number from issuance until retirement on your behalf
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