As the fastest growing forest resource in the world, bamboo is made for afforestation, reforestation and the generation of carbon credits. In recent years, a range of studies have demonstrated bamboo’s effectiveness as a highly renewable tool for climate change mitigation. However, without specific carbon accounting methodologies that included bamboo, stakeholders were prevented from fully taking advantage of the opportunity to off-set emissions with bamboo.
To overcome this, INBAR and partners set out to develop an own innovative carbon accounting methodology for afforestation with bamboo in China. This methodology is currently being tested, adapted and demonstrated in INBAR Member States, with the goal to develop a global methodology.
INBAR’s goal, however, is to provide global bamboo stakeholders with an additional range of effective options for climate change mitigation activities, including existing voluntary carbon schemes. Therefore, INBAR worked with the Gold Standard – one of the world’s most innovative and well-recognised global voluntary carbon standards – to include bamboo in their methodologies. The Gold Standard verifies and sells premium carbon credits as an internationally recognised benchmark for quality and rigour in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets. In the Land Use and Forest Sector, the Gold Standard closely cooperates with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
As a part of the Gold Standard Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) Advisory Panel, INBAR’s Forest & Climate change expert Dr. Yannick Kuehl contributed to the development of the new A/R methodology of the Gold Standard. The recent Gold Standard A/R Requirements go beyond the scientific definition of a tree and include “shrubs, palms and bamboo – provided that they are at least 2m in height”. Looking beyond trees, and consequently including bamboos and other non-tree plants, represents an important and significant step.
“The fact that bamboo is now included in the Gold Standard, is a key development,” said Dr. Kuehl. “This allows project developers to choose between a range of methodologies when designing bamboo carbon projects. We are especially pleased to work with the Gold Standard, as it is globally widely recognised as a reliable and innovative standard. It also shows that our partners recognize bamboos as an effective tool to combat climate change.”
“It was extremely important to us to also include bamboo forest in our ‘forest’ definition to enable reforestation projects of this valuable ecotype,” said Moriz Vohrer, the Technical Director Land-Use & Forests of The Gold Standard Foundation. “We recognise that forest definitions need a scope beyond simply trees in order to develop effective carbon off-setting initiatives. That way more stakeholders around the world can come on-board and contribute to climate change mitigation.”
For the future, INBAR hopes to work with other carbon crediting schemes to extend these options even further. Moreover, INBAR wants to look beyond afforestation and reforestation with bamboo, by developing mechanisms for the sustainable management of existing bamboo forests and carbon stored in durable harvested bamboo products.
INBAR would like to express its gratitude to GIZ’s ‘Global Partners, Emerging Economies’ unit and the China Green Carbon Foundation for their continued support of INBAR’s work on climate change.