Study on forest carbon stock measurement in the Congo Basin

General Description

The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) is an intergovernmental organization established by the heads of the Central African states and responsible for forest and environment policy orientation, harmonization and monitoring in ten member countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and of Sao Tome/Principe). For the purpose of that fundamental mission COMIFAC dispose of a convergence plan based on ten strategic axes which allows the Central African States to share a common vision concerning the conservation and sustainable monitoring of their forest resources.

At present the six Congo Basin forest countries and member countries of the COMIFAC (Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo) would like to develop a regional approach beyond the national support provided especially by the FCPF framework (in terms of the «Readiness» mechanism who aims to support the countries in their preparation for a potential future national REDD system). This regional approach should intensify the exchange of experiences and informations and bases on obvious scale economies. Afterwards the World Bank could mobilize the means to develop the regional project “Institutional capacity building for REDD to promote the sustainable forest monitoring of the Congo Basin”.

The study on forest carbon stock measurement in the Congo Basin is part of the regional project preparation, notably of the component 2. The countries embarking on REDD will be leaded to supervise the forest carbon development for showing the impact of deforestation and forest degradation in the sense of GHG emission reduction or augmentation compared to a predefined scenario. For this it’s indispensable to know the initial value at a given moment and to observe the developments by an efficient monitoring system based on measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) GHG emissions and absorptions due to forest cover changes.

Financed by Implemented for
GEF and Worldbank




Objective and Activities

The overall objective of the study on forest carbon stock measurement in the Congo Basin consists first in taking stock of available data and of existing or planned convergent initiatives in the field of forest carbon measurement. Furthermore the study aims to propose an approach which could be developed within the implementation of the regional REDD project and allows to lead to an improved knowledge of carbon stock in the different forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin.

To contribute to the development of an efficient and harmonized methodology for the carbon stock measurements in the Congo Basin forests the study will be realized in two steps:

Phase 1: Analysis of the existing data and GAP Analysis.

  • Review of available data and of data availability, including ancillary data (soil maps; climate maps; topographic maps; DEMs etc.), inventory of existing or planned projects, analysis of used methodologies.
  • Technical and institutional review of national and regional capacities linked to the forest data collection and the carbon measurement.

Phase 2: Determination of basic elements for a regional approach of carbon stock measurement and monitoring in the Congo Basin forests on the background of the IPCC guidelines.

  • Definition of the allometric coefficients adopted to the Congo Basin forest ecosystems
  • Definition of the conditions of forest carbon monitoring in the Congo Basin
  • Institutional and technical capacity building

Specific activities to be undertaken during the two phases are:

  • Allometric Equations: A review and assessment of available in-situ data (NFIs); forest management inventories that could be employed in a national/regional carbon accounting scheme; review of existing allometric equations and identification of best practices. Based on the main outputs of phase 1 a methodology will be prepared with regard for the constraints associated with this project component and taking account of MRV initiatives/projects to define allometric equations fitting best the MRV systems to be installed. For this the preparation team should work closely with all involved partners at the sub-region level.
  • Earth Observation Data: The data to be assessed in the context of utility for a regional MRV include available and planned Earth Observation (EO) data (with a focus on the application of currently available optical EO data such as Landsat, SPOT and DMC). Furthermore the arrangements to acquire SPOT data for the region will be assessed. Based on the outputs of the first phase, the preparatory team will specifically examine the status and potential of the Libreville receiving station for future EO acquisition and report the options on how to allow access for the Congo Basin countries to the images.
  • MRV Projects: This activity will review and assess the links between existing and planned MRV REDD related studies in the sub-regions and will be conducted in coordination with the FAO team which will also conduct a similar study on gap analysis in the 10 countries of the COMIFAC during the next few months. The methodologies used by all the different projects and initiatives identified under Phase 1 will be assessed on the background of the IPCC guidelines for GHG reporting. Complementarities and synergies amongst the studies (projects) will be outlined and potential areas, which the GEF regional programme can complement, will be identified.

Expected Outcomes

  • Review on C measurement initiatives in the Congo Basin: Assessment of the methodological C measurement and monitoring experiences, including a compared technology analysis and identifying the possible collaborations, complementarities and synergies between the different initiatives.
  • Allometric Equation : Proposition of a detailed methodology for defining allometric equations adopted to the sub-region (including budget and capacity building plan)
  • Earth Observation Data: Guidance and recommendations on how to ease the access for the Congo Basin countries to the images of the reception satellite to be installed in Libreville.
  • MRV systems: Potential key technical and organizational issues for development that the GEF-COMIFAC programme can implement in order that the programme provides a framework and coordinating position for regional REDD MRV programmes (cf. scientific partnership to be set up).