Forests play a large role in global climate change. Their overuse, deforestation, and degradation can lead to emissions, but forests can also be sustainably managed. Restored and intact forests can even sequester carbon, reducing overall emissions.

The Forest Guidance supports the assessment of GHG impacts for policies in the sector. Drawing from available guidance for GHG quantification at the national and project levels, this guidance aims to streamline and simplify GHG assessment for policy-level accounting.

The Forest Guidance provides step-wise instruction for GHG quantification and includes:

  • Ex-ante assessment of expected future GHG effects
  • Ex-post evaluation of historical GHG effect to ensure intended results have been achieved
  • Links to data, tools, models and methods for quantifying GHG effects

The guidance focuses on assessing the impacts of forest policies that increase carbon sequestration and/or reduce GHG emissions from afforestation and/or reforestation, sustainable forest management and avoided deforestation and/or degradation.


The May 2018 version of guidance is now available. Click here for the full guidance document or use the sections below to navigate to a specific topic. Click here for an introduction to the methodology.


1 & 2

What is the guidance and why should I use it?

These chapters provide an introduction to the guidance and an overview of objectives users may have in assessing the GHG impacts of forest policies. This section should be read to understand whether to use the guidance and to determine what objectives it will be used for.


3 & 4

Overview of the methodology

These chapters provide an overview of the types of forest policy instruments, and mitigation practices and technologies, to which this guidance can be applied. It also lays out an overview of the steps involved in assessing the GHG impacts of forest policies, and provides guidance on planning the assessment.



How to describe the policy or action being assessed

In this chapter, users will get guidance on the first step of the assessment process, describing the policy that will be assessed. Guidance is also provided on deciding whether to assess an individual policy or a package of related policies and choosing whether to carry out an ex-ante (forward-looking) or ex-post (backward-looking) assessment.



How to choose which GHG impacts and indicators to assess

This chapter provides guidance for identifying the impacts of forest policies. The guidance helps users to develop a causal chain by considering how the policy will be implemented, who will be affected by the policy, what the potential intermediate effects of the policy will be, and how these effects cause GHG impacts.


7 - 9

How to quantify the GHG impacts

The guidance in Chapter 7 can be used for determining the baseline scenario and estimating emissions ex-ante or ex-post. Estimating the baseline emissions is optional as the guidance provides two ways for users to estimate GHG impacts. The activity data approach allows users to estimate the GHG impacts without explicitly determining separate baseline and policy scenarios. Chapter 8 helps users estimate expected future GHG impacts of the policy. Users can estimate impacts based on the implementation potential of the policy using either the emissions approach or the activity data approach. Chapter 9 provides guidance for estimating impacts ex-post. Ex-post assessment involves evaluating performance of the policy based on monitored or observed data collected during the policy implementation period.


10 & 11

How to monitor indicators over time and report results

This section is relevant for all users. Chapter 10 identifies data and parameters to monitor over time and provides guidance on how to develop a monitoring plan. Chapter 11 provides a recommended list of information to be reported, which ensures the impact assessment is transparent and gives decision-makers and stakeholders the information they need to properly interpret the results.


A - C

Additional guidance

These appendices provide additional guidance or information on involving stakeholders in the impact assessment and discount rates. The final section explains how the scope of this guidance was selected.

Glossary, references and contributors

This section contains the glossary, abbreviations and acronyms, references and contributors.

List of key recommendations

This is a summary of the key recommendations provided throughout the guidance.


  • Webinar Slides: Draft Agriculture Guidance & Forest Guidance

    This webinar provides information on the draft Agriculture Guidance and draft Forest Guidance, a how-to on commenting via Collaborase and a brief overview of the Stakeholder Participation and Technical Review Guidance as they relate to the Agriculture Guidance and Forest Guidance. Full webinar available here: Webinar Recording

Forestry components are needed to support GHG mitigation… They are the foundations of life on earth and have immense potential sequestration of greenhouse gases; they allow sustainable mitigation by the huge potential of biodiversity conservation and support for sustainable livelihoods.

– Mamoutou Sanogo, Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development, Mali