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Decision Support Tool for Developing Reference Levels for REDD+

Decision Support Tool for Developing Reference Levels for REDD+

20 February 2013

The UNFCCC calls for the development of a national forest reference emission level (REL) and/or forest reference level (RL) for REDD+ based on decision 4/CP.15.  Further, the development of RL/RELs can be seen as a two-step process – first produce estimates of historic emissions and removals, then they can be adjusted as needed taking into account both national circumstances as well as national capabilities.

This document is a draft methodological framework to help FCPF countries enhance their near term capacity for producing RLs/RELs as part of their eventual REDD+ Readiness Packages. The Readiness Packages are essentially summaries of countries’ efforts to achieve REDD+ Readiness after implementing the studies laid out in their R-PPs. This framework will serve as a guide to assist countries in understanding the steps needed to develop RLs, including what key decisions need to be made to start the process, what methods and data should be used, how to project the historic emissions estimate into the future, and what approaches are already available for developing RL/RELs.

The framework presented here is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather is meant to outline the decisions and steps needed to develop a RL/REL, the capacity, data, and technical steps needed to carry out each component. It is a practical tool that will be immediately useful for countries and analysts for designing not only a REDD+ RL/REL but also a REDD+ monitoring system.

Prepared by Nancy Harris, Timothy Pearson and Sandra Brown of Winrock International, with Kenneth Andrasko, Alex Lotsch, and Gerald Kapp of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

We welcome your feedback on this tool.  Please send your comments and/or suggestions to  Thank you.