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Standard operating procedures for terrestrial carbon measurement


The active and important role vegetation and soil play in the global carbon cycle and global climate change is now internationally recognized. Vegetation and soil can act as both a net source and a net sink of greenhouse gas, depending on how the land is managed. Alterations in land use management techniques that result in changes to net greenhouse gas emissions are now a significant component to the regulatory and voluntary actions taking place globally to combat climate change.

The purpose of this document is to provide standard field measurement approaches to assist in quantifying the amount of carbon stored within the various organic pools found within a landscape. The methods presented in each Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) have been developed over time by foresters and ecologists to accurately and efficiently estimate carbon stocks.

The Standard Operating Procedures are grouped by purpose. The first set of Standard Operating Procedures are general and can be used for many field measurement goals. A set of Standard Operating Procedures are also presented on the measurement of all the carbon pools. These can be used to estimate the standing stock of a carbon pool within a stratum. Another set of Standard Operating Procedures are presented to estimate the emissions resulting from selective logging. Various Standard Operating Procedures are also presented on estimating canopy cover. These Standard Operating Procedures should only be used when the purpose of data collection is known.

Download the document here: Standard operating procedures for terrestrial carbon measurement.

Image credit: CIFOR