Clark Labs Assists Conservation International with the Development and Modeling of Carbon Emissions Baselines


Worcester, MA -- Clark Labs was recently awarded a contract by Conservation International  to assist in the development of site-level carbon emissions baselines for a subset of their projects in their Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program.

Conservation International’s Regional Programs Department (RPD) and the Center for Applied Biodiversity (CABS) is charged with developing a portfolio of site-based carbon-offset projects.  This task requires developing the expertise of its regional programs to conduct REDD project development, including the technical capacity to estimate carbon-emissions baselines that are transparent, and validated to a level to achieve confidence from the carbon-investment community.

Conservation International’s Climate Change Initiatives program in RPD led a training event on Forest Carbon Project Development in the Fall of 2007 in Quito, Ecuador. The objective of the training was to provide guidance on how to develop innovative forest carbon projects that contribute to mitigating climate change, while conserving biodiversity and promoting local community livelihoods.

“Deforestation and land use change account for roughly 20 % of green house gas emissions. Protecting forests will not only preserve biodiversity but also help to reduce the rate and degree of climate change,” indicated Stefano Crema, Research Associate at Clark Labs.

The course was attended by over 30 trainees from 12 regions. It was based on lessons learned and the experiences in the development of existing projects in Ecuador, Madagascar, Indonesia and others.

Clark Labs contributed to the workshop and assisted in the development of site-level baseline scenarios of carbon emissions using IDRISI Andes and its Land Change Modeler application. Several different models and approaches were explored for estimating these baseline scenarios. The required input data was determined and the models were then validated. Necessary data to execute the scenario models for the emissions baselines included GIS data on roads, towns, rivers and topography, forest biomass, and historical deforestation patterns in and around the site for three time periods.  Existing methods guidelines were provided by Clark Labs.

“We are excited about this partnership,” Daniel Juhn, Director of the Regional Analysis Program within the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science of Conservation International stated.  “Clark Labs understands GIS development and their experts demonstrate the insight and creativity that can help us innovate field-based conservation applications.  Their experience in developing appropriate methodologies and tools will be a tremendous asset given the realities faced by our projects on-the-ground.”

The outcome of these scenarios for carbon projects was included in Conservation International’s presentations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, December 2007.

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit




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