Carbon accounting framework
National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS)
The overall carbon accounting framework for forest carbon and the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) as key source of information for forest monitoring, setting the FRL (baseline) and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emission reductions from sources and carbon removals from sinks as well as the safeguards information system.
Fig. Functions of the National Forest Monitoring System
Ethiopia's NFMS is designed to provide information relevant to MRV REDD+ activities and to support broader forest sector policies and program. Ethiopia's NFMS consists of two functions (Figure 4) – MRV and Monitoring functions. The MRV function is for reporting GHG inventories and may be divided into three elements: Measurement, Reporting and Verification. The measurement part consists of GHG Inventories, the Satellite Land Monitoring System (SLMS) and the National Forest Inventory (NFI).
Verification will be a two-step process. The first step requires external monitoring and verification by the national MRV technical team chosen based on competence of national experts that will be submitted to the government for official endorsement. The second requires international verification by the UNFCCC or a partner engaged in the REDD+ RBPs with government of Ethiopia.
Monitoring refers to both the monitoring of REDD+ PAM impacts in addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation or in enhancing carbon removal through forest restoration. It also involves the collection, storage, analysis, and dissemination of data. SLMS also assumes an important role in the monitoring function by providing frequent information on land use/cover conditions. The types of information to be collected by the NFMS – particularly through its monitoring function - are determined along with the development of the SIS, non carbon benefits.
Within the REDD+ framework, the methodology for monitoring PAMs will be determined based on PAMs to be implemented, but Ethiopia is interested at the moment to monitor deforestation and afforestation.
Satellite Land Monitoring System (SLMS)
Ethiopia has mapped the extent and distribution of forest areas based on satellite images. Historical rates of deforestation and afforestation have been calculated for the period between 2000 and 2013. The database management system has been developed at the National MRV Unit to store, analyze and manage data and information required for the NFMS and to ensure that relevant stakeholders have access to data and information associated with REDD+. A web-portal is being designed and servers are being configured, to allow for transparent sharing of NFMS-related data. The MRV Unit at EFCC with TA from FAO as been producing National Forest Cover map using Landsat images for 2013. A Land Use Land Cover map for the year 2013 has also been completed. While technologies for an improved monitoring will be sought (especially for forest degradation), Landsat images (satellite image) will continue to be used as the basis for land use/cover mapping because of their cost-effectiveness and utility for land use change detection.
National Forest Inventory (NFI)
National Forest Inventory has also been conducted since March 2013 and data collection has been finalized by now. Tree biomass data from the NFI were analyzed and emission factors (EFs) were determined four biomes (Figure 5). The information generated by the NFI was used in the calculation of the initial FREL/FRL submitted to UNFCCC in this year
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
GHG inventory for the forest sector uses ADs for deforestation (annual forest loss) and afforestation (annual forest gain) calculated. ADs by Land sat image analysis is updated biannually and EF is calculated from the NFI and updated every 5 years. Harmonization of methodologies for other AFOLU sectors and REDD+ MRV and the method to be used in the BUR and National Communication (NC) have yet to be developed.
Setting the Forest Reference Levels (FRLs)
Ethiopia’s FRL is developed in the context of receiving results based payments for REDD+ implementation. Based on the approach described above for the construction of FRL, Ethiopia has submitted its first FRL to the UNFCCC where the Forest Reference Emission Level for deforestation is: 17,762,406 tCO2/year; the Forest Reference Level for afforestation is: 4,907,634.66 tCO2/year (see Figure 5). The choice of construction approach and historical period is provisional and may change in the future following appropriate and comprehensive assessment and national circumstances. In this revised version of the FRL, the estimates have been improved by estimating the emission factors using countrywide data from the National Forest Inventory and taking into account the revision of the first submission.
Fig. Annual carbon emissions (MtCO2e, A) and removal (MtCO2e, B) by forest types (biomes) in Ethiopia between 2000-2013
Ethiopia has made decisions on key elements of the national FRL. Consistent with the construction of the national FRL, the Oromia Forest Landscape Program (a sub-national Jurisdictional REDD+ program) has a separate FRL intended to generate payments for emission reduction from the BioCarbon Fund.
The key elements of the national FRL are defined as follows:
(i)National Forest Definition: Forest in Ethiopian context refers to: 'Land spanning more than 0.5 ha covered by trees (including bamboo) attaining a height of more than 2m and a canopy cover of more than 20% or trees with the potential to reach these thresholds in situ in due course'. The height threshold has been reduced from the original 5m (previous submission to the UNFCCC for CDM-AR) to 2m with the intention including dense woodlands that have a wide distribution with significant carbon stock across dry lands of the country. Canopy cover has been increased from 10% to 20% with the intention of excluding highly degraded forest from the forest definition and provide incentive for protecting forest.
(ii) Scale: The construction of FRLs begins at national level and the submission to the UNFCCC will be the national FRL. Sub-national FRLs will emanate from the national FRL for reasons of consistency. The national FRL construction will follow a step-wise approach. In the interim period, the construction of FRL will be based on national activity data and sub-national emission factor from the national inventory data which will subsequently updated based on data from national emission factors. (iii) Scope: Ethiopia is proposing a step-wise approach for the inclusion of the following REDD+ activities: i) reducing emissions from deforestation, ii) reducing emissions from forest degradation, and iii) enhancement of forest carbon stocks (A/R). In the interim period, with regard to activities Ethiopia decided to submit baselines for emissions from deforestation and carbon removals from forest restoration (A/R). In relation to carbon pools, AGB, BGB and dead wood carbon will be considered. Among GHGs, only CO2 will be measured and reported.
(iv) Analysis of historical data:
Activity Data (AD): The reference period for the calculation of forest cover change (AD) spans 13 years (2000-2013). In the national forest monitoring system (NFMS), Landsat8 data sets will be used both for mapping forest cover and forest cover change (AD). At least 4 time series images to calculate the historical annual average or trend. The end date for the historical analysis is the most recent date prior to 2013 for which forest cover data is available. Cursory analysis of deforestation in Ethiopia shows an increasing trend, however, an initial submission considers historical average which will gradually be updated based on availability of data.
Emission Factors (EF): Emission factors will be determined for four forest categories (biomes) of the country based on the current forest inventory data. The calculation of biomass currently uses Chave et al. 2014 allometric equations recommended by the IPCC . However, a national project for validation of equations is planned to be undertaken. This results in updated EFs in subsequent submissions of FRLs. The uncertainties related to emission factors are quantified.
Stratification: Four forest categories (biomes) will be used for calculation of emissions and carbon removals. These forest categories include Moist Afromontane Forest, Dry Afromontane Forest, Combretum-Terminalia dryforest and Acacia-Commiphora dry forest. Similar emission factor will be used for the identified forest categories in calculating emission removals.
Fig. Major forest biomes of Ethiopia
MRV Structure, Institutions and Responsibilities
Institutional arrangements for monitoring systems should ensure the smooth flow of information among institutions and the participation of stakeholders. In conformity with the institutional arrangement for REDD+ implementation, an appropriate institutional arrangement will be put in place with defined responsibilities divided among different REDD+ institutions across scales (vertical and horizontal) to handle MRV activities/
MRV structure in Ethiopia
The MRV system implementation is currently institutionalized at the federal level. Under a federal organization logic and in order to ensure sustainability, the MRV system will be implemented also at regional level (R-MRV) in order to ensure a correct and continuous flux of information from the local up to the national level (N-MRV). In initial phase N-MRV will be responsible for generating data and information on REDD+ MRV. This transition phase will be accompanied with specific trainings and capacity transfer to R-MRV to ensure that each technical phase of the Regional-FRLs as well as the MRV systems are well perceived by regions. This phase will support the (technical) dialogue with the regions from the first phases. Besides regional capacity for undertaking Forest Inventory (FIs) will be created in this phase so that regions (R-MRV) will deal with the intensification of sampling on the current NFI in order to improve the regional estimates, and continue to implement subsequent FIs . In the long term following the guidelines produced by the federal level (N-MRV), the R-MRV will monitor the regional REDD + activities and provide the data to the N-MRV.
The national MRV plan is designed for MRV data generation and reporting at three levels. Thus, the workflow for the MRV system would consist of the three different levels defined in the overall framework.
1) Project or intervention level, would consist of projects or interventions with their own monitoring systems. The data collected at this level would include, for instance, data reported by REDD+ projects (i.e. forest inventories, project areas, detailed mapping of LULC classes, etc.), data reported by M&E systems (e.g. planted areas by woredas, etc.) or other data (e.g. biomass surveys conducted by the SLMP MRV). The first level will be responsible to estimate the ER according to the data, guidelines and the protocols provided by the institutions (second and third level).
2) Regional level (R-MRV), led by the RRCUs, this second level can be intended of a regional antenna of the national MRV. At least two technicians will be part of the R-MRV. These technicians support the first level by providing all the relevant informations and guidelines, it also ensure that the data and the ER calculations coming from the first level (assigned to each programme/intervention area, in case the benefit sharing mechanisms are performance-based) is consistent and guidelines compliant. Once that the consistency is ensured the R-MRV would compile all data from the first level and communicated to the N-MRV (Federal level). The resulting parameter values from this processing at the National level would then be used by the regional level for reporting purposes. At the occurrence the R-MRV can support the first level in AD and EF estimates activities as the personnel will be trained and coordinated technically by the N-MRV team, this can be done for the area with and without REDD+ activities. The R-MRV will have access to all the data elaborated from the N-MRV and will be when possible, technically independent. Now, REDD+ Coordination Units(RRCUs) exist in Oromia, Amara, Tigray and SNNP regions. The implementation plan for the R-MRV will start from these regions.
3) National level (N-MRV), lead by the MRV Unit under the General Directorate of Forestry at the MEFCC, would collect and elaborate primary (cfr. EF and AD) data and the data coming from the R-MRV. The link between third and second level at technical level is ensured by a flux of elaborated end relevant data, trainings and guidelines, reports. The N-MRV responsibilities also includes the production of guidelines, manuals and protocols for the second and third level in order to ensure consistency in the data collection and a correct flux of informations between the levels.
The guidelines and protocols will be transparent and will warrant the absolute consistency between levels. The MRV unit will verify all the data coming by the second level and will report the REDD+ secretariat all the ER in order to prepare the REDD+ registry. This structure will ensure an approach top-bottom (national-local) for the data flux and consistency control, and an approach bottom-top (local-national) for the ER data that will feed the Redd registry.
Key Stakeholders to Support the MRV Capacity
Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources: The role of the academia is fundamental for the implementation and sustainability of the MRV. In the implementation phase the capacity building will be applied only with the support of the structures and experts from Wondo Genet, above all for GIS, RS, Botanics, Forestry, Forest Management for the federal and for the regional level. Wondo Genet is also the technical partner for the technical choices in the MRV implementation. The MRV is also an important study opportunity for students and researchers, the partnership can ensure sustainability in the technical units allowing the MEFCC to draw the best technical team from the more important Forestry College of the country.
Ethiopian Mapping Agency: MEFCC is strengthening the link with EMA in order to ensure the coordination in the release of estimates and maps from the MRV. The EMA experts have been involved in the Activity Data estimation process since the beginning, furthermore the laboratories of EMA are important place where conduct trainings and test methodologies for large classes. The EMA is often also an important repository for satellite images a different resolution. The collaboration between MEFCC and EMA by the sustainability point of view will ensure both the parties for a quality on the release of Activity Data and a strong technical partner.