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301 GHG Accounting for Forest Inventories


This course provides comprehensive and detailed guidance on how to account for forest-related GHG emissions and removals when preparing an organizational GHG inventory.

Many organizations are taking steps to better understand, manage, and track their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and several internationally acclaimed resources are available to specifically assist organizations with the essential step of preparing a GHG inventory. The important role for forests in GHG emissions management is widely recognized, but there are fewer resources to help organizations account for forest-related GHG emissions and removals in their GHG emission inventories. This course fills this need by providing comprehensive and detailed guidance on developing forest GHG inventories, which will help your organization:

  • Track changes in forest GHG emissions and removals over time
  • Identify opportunities to increase carbon sequestration
  • Identify other opportunities to reduce forest-related GHG emissions
  • Participate in GHG reporting programs
  • Assess liabilities of and opportunities for participating in future GHG policies

There are a wide variety of GHG programs that include a role for forests and thus provide some guidance on forest GHG accounting. For instance:

  • National GHG Inventories under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Guidelines for National GHG Inventories by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) forest projects
  • The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
  • The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS)
  • U.S. EPA Climate Leaders
  • U.S. DOE/EIA 1605b Voluntary GHG Reporting Program
  • California Climate Action Registry (CCAR)

The forest-related guidance provided in these programs ranges in terms of purpose, scope, and specificity. This course draws on all of these resources and provides comprehensive and flexible guidance specifically on how to prepare an organizational GHG inventory covering forest GHG emissions and removals. To date, there are no international consensus methods on this topic.

To remain consistent with widely approved international standards, the course draws on the terminology and structure of WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

The course includes quizzes and exercises to help you learn to apply key lessons. A Certificate of Proficiency is available and requires the passing of an exam for an additional fee.

Key concepts covered include:

  • The benefits of developing a forest GHG inventory
  • Overview of existing GHG reporting programs that include forests
  • How to set boundaries in a forest GHG inventory
  • How to characterize forests and what information is important to track over time
  • The basic principles of carbon stock accounting
  • Specific options, methods, and examples of how to estimate forest carbon stocks (including carbon in harvested wood products)
    • Options include using simple assumptions, publicly available data, and measurement data collected in the forest
  • Guidance to help you choose the right forest carbon stock estimation method for your circumstances
  • Methods for estimating emissions from GHG sources in forests
  • Resources for estimating non-forest GHG emissions sources that could fall within your organization’s boundaries (i.e.,., from pulp and paper mills and wood manufacturing facilities))
  • How to bring it together into a comprehensive GHG inventory report

Who should take this course:

Anyone with an interest in GHG management of forest lands, and in particular corporate environmental and sustainability managers, investors, and auditors working with organizations that own forested land or engage in activities affecting forested lands.

Approximate number of working hours to complete: 16 to 20

Availability: This course is available 24/7.


Anup Joshi

Anup Joshi teaches courses on the technical aspects of terrestrial carbon accounting which include field inventory, remote sensing, and GIS for measuring and mapping forest carbon stocks. These courses provide …

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