MORECA - Monitoring of large scale small holder reforestation projects for carbon finance mechanisms

Context and objectives

In the Virunga NP the main cause of deforestation is illegal logging for charcoal production and for fuel wood collection. To tackle this problem, the current EcoMakala project (EU, 2007-2012) aims to reforest at least 2000 ha of smallholder lands (0,5 to 5ha). To be eligible as A/R activity under the CDM of the Kyoto Protocol, a conclusive proof that the areas were not carrying forest from 1990 onwards has to be delivered. In addition, to be part of a larger REDD programme, the positive impact on the deforestation rate of the Park has to be demonstrated. The primary objectives of this proposal are

  • Define the eligibility of the pre-identified lands (based on the UNFCCC’s forest definition for the DRC);
  • Monitor plantations and estimate the carbon uptake based on extrapolation of field measurements.

Project outcome

  • A methodology was developed to define the plots which are eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol to receive funds to increase forest carbon stocks by means of reforestation activities. To do so, different methods available to classify SPOT images were compared;
  • It was shown that in a fragmented region such as eastern Congo, a traditional method of pixel classification gives very satisfactory results and offers the advantage of being able to be performed in ArcGis 10, software that the teams of WWF Goma and its regional head office already used;
  • A methodology for the monitoring of the reforested parcels with VHR images (optical and radar) and the forest definition for the DRC as defined by the UNFCCC (minimum surface of 0.5ha, minimum tree crown cover of 30% and minimum potential tree height at maturity of 3m) was investigated. This study did not establish an accurate relationship between 30% crown canopy density and the combination of indices extracted from a SPOT image resolution of 2.5 meters;
  • Along the project a focus was laid on capacity building of the local team. The field agents got trained in data collection linked to the objectives of the MORECA project (a.o. biomass estimations) and the interpretation of satellite images vs what is seen on the ground. Furthermore the results and methodology will be largely distributed, in the entire WWF network but also to its partners.