Land area eligible for afforestation and reforestation within the Clean Development Mechanism: a global analysis of the impact of forest definition

Within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol, countries have significant latitude to define a forest. The most important parameter affecting area designated as forest is the minimum crown cover which can be set between 10 and 30%. The choice will have implications for the amount of land available in a country for afforestation and reforestation activities within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM-AR). In this paper, we present an analysis of the regional differences in land availability for CDM-AR projects. We then examine how the choice of a high or low threshold value for crown cover will affect the area available for CDM activities and how the limitations imposed by this element of the definition compares to other factors that are likely to limit CDM activities.