Frequently asked questions
The VCS Program is the world’s most widely used voluntary GHG program. More than 1300 certified VCS projects have collectively reduced or removed more than 200 million tonnes of carbon and other GHG emissions from the atmosphere.
Individuals and corporations around the world are recognizing the importance of reducing their GHG emissions. As a result, many of them are reducing their carbon footprints through energy efficiency and other measures. Quite often, however, it is too expensive for these entities to meet their targets or eliminate their carbon footprint entirely with internal reductions, and they need a mechanism to achieve these aspirational goals. Enter the carbon markets.
By using the carbon markets, entities can neutralize, or offset, their emissions by retiring carbon credits generated by projects that are reducing GHG emissions elsewhere. Of course, it is critical to ensure, or verify, that the emission reductions generated by these projects are actually occurring. This is the work of the VCS Program – to ensure the credibility of emission reduction projects.
Once projects have been certified against the VCS Program’s rigorous set of rules and requirements, project developers can be issued tradable GHG credits that we call Verified Carbon Units (VCUs). Those VCUs can then be sold on the open market and retired by individuals and companies as a means to offset their own emissions. Over time, this flexibility channels financing to clean, innovative businesses and technologies.
How it works
Projects developed under the VCS Program must follow a rigorous assessment process in order to be certified. VCS projects cover a diverse range of sectors, including renewable energy (such as wind and hydroelectric projects), forestry (including the avoidance of deforestation), and others. Emission reductions certified by our program are eligible to be issued as VCUs, with one VCU representing one metric tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reduced or removed from the atmosphere.
WIF has gained considerable experience since 2012 when the first mangrove project with research was started in Myanmar. Presently WIF is implementing large scale blue carbon mangrove restoration projects on 15,000 Ha in 4 regions in Myanmar. WIF’s 1st VERRA restoration project was approved by VERRA in 2017, as the first project of its kind in Asia.
Since 2015, Thor Heyerdahl Climate Parks in Myanmar completed with over 18m trees planted and a survival rate 96%. The projects have established and maintained a sustainably managed mangrove ecosystem for carbon sequestration, natural disaster risk reduction, poverty reduction with sustainable livelihoods in the coastal communities. The Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park I project is projected to generate 3.1m tons over the life of the project. Without the project, carbon stocks in the project area will continue to decrease due to various anthropogenic activities. Larger ongoing projects are estimated at over 25m tons CO2 in total.
The projects are implemented in a severely degraded mangrove vegetation area. These lands have been subjected to deforestation since the 1980s due to development projects, agricultural expansion, charcoal production, increased population, land conversion, fish/shrimp ponds and due to salterns. In addition, WIF has pioneered planting on mudflats, grasslands and wetlands with same high quality of 96% survival rate.
The huge loss projected for Myanmar’s mangrove areas indicates an urgent need to address current methods of natural resource management and enforcement. Without a change in current practices and laws, Myanmar’s population will be vulnerable to natural disasters and negative impacts on the local economy, side-effects of a major loss in mangroves. The local community’s economy will suffer further as local aquatic species decrease, the environmental quality degrades, and as a risk of storm damage. New projects are in progress in Thailand and Sri Lanka, with Indonesia and Vietnam in the pipeline from 2022.
Thanks to nature, most of the climate gases have been absorbed before reaching the atmosphere. But as more and more of bio diversity is destroyed, this natural protection has been seriously weakened.
The mangrove tree, growing in salty water as a buffer between land and sea is a super-efficient climate mitigator, absorbing 5 times more climate gases than terrestrial trees. The trees are protected for 30 years by law as public protected forests, in cooperation with partner communities.
Since 2012, WIF is a pioneer of financing and developing innovative and sustainable large-scale blue carbon mangrove projects. WIF continuously innovates, leading to 96% survival rate (global average is 50% for mangrove restoration). WIF continues to pilot and integrate multiple innovative technologies to ensure monitoring, evaluation and rewards effectiveness and developing blue carbon products including seagrass and seaweed. Integrated technologies include:
Drones: A new drone testing with AI developed by Andoya Space Center in Norway, will be ready for operation from 2022 as a pioneering new generation mapping and monitoring support with advanced sensors measuring carbon mitigation and growth of trees with IOT integration.; Tested drone planting in 2018 with seeds in cooperation with BioCarbon Engineering, UK.
Geospatial: working closely with biggest satellite company PLANET, partner and us
Big Data Analytics: Internet monitoring for planting; Member of EarthPulse – a coalition of corporates (e.g. IBM), NGO’s (e.g. WIF) and tech companies (e.g. Regen Network) building a superbrain, powered by AI and Blockchain and Data Analytics, to monitor, evaluate and reward verified impact and drive conservation (including mangroves) at a massive scale.
Bio-energy: Distribution of cookstoves (not linked to carbon) as part of the livelihoods programs, reducing the need for fuel by 40%.
Blockchain: Innovative funding through the world’s first natural capital-backed token (TREE) launched in 2017.
- 67 % for tree-planting and monitoring
- 25 % for sustainable development / poverty reduction
- 8 % for administration and reporting
Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Gambia.
Biodiversity and High Quality:
WIF has from the start maintained biodiversity in its projects, with 5-9 different mangrove species in each project, based on local conditions and quality control. The survival rate of plants is exceptionally high, up to 96% documented by frequent control of sample plots and general forest inspections. One example is the endangered species Bruguiera Haines (on IUCIs red list). During the last 5 years, WIF has nursed and planted more than 10,000 of these species to make a contribution to the protection of endangered mangrove species. The following mangrove species will be planted in the project: Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculate, Ceriops tagal, Sonneratia apetala, Avicennia officinalis, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Bruguiera sexangular, Bruguiera cylindrical and Bruguiera hainesii. WIF mangrove Gene Bank consist of 34 different species, targeted to reach 64 by 2023 with research activities in cooperation with Pathein University.
In the first mangrove park (Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park), endangered wild elephants are seeking shelter in the newly planted forest, including providing survival for other endangered species (animals and birds). Life is back. We don’t only plant trees, but new life with HOPE.
Establishing mangrove forests on degraded, underutilized lands sequesters a significant amount of GHGs compared to the baseline. Under the project, nutrition is retained on the land and therefore water quality is increased compared to the baseline. The soil organic contents and mineral contents are improved due to proper land management. Mangrove restoration will further increase fish resources, protect lives and properties from extreme weather, provide cooling effects from mangrove trees and provide other vital ecosystem services. Protecting endangered flora and fauna is another environmental benefit of the project.
A variety of bird species like Baya weavers, Warblers, and Sunbirds live in the project habitat area, depending on mangrove plants for their feed and nesting. Apart from birds, a variety of brackish fish such as the Blue-spotted mud hoppers, crabs, and other seafood resources have shown abundant growth since the implementation of the project activities. A crab hatchery is under construction. A successful seaweed project is introduced in several communities.
Verra project #1764 was implemented in 2015 and the first monitoring completed in 2018. In August 2021 we completed the 4th consecutive monitoring, and so far the project has issued about 164,455 t CO2e with a projected 3.1m tCO2.
For example, the #1764 project has restored a degraded mangrove land area of 2065.87 Ha belonging to the Northern part of Ayeyarwady Division of Myanmar.
Human Rights, Livelihoods and Women Empowerment:
As part of WIFs commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals, all are included in the total commitment. The majority of trained planters are women, all planters are paid 50% above normal day laborer salary. Women are also given preference in livelihood activities, with a special scholarship for girls from poor families from the project areas, seeking university education. Each school-going child is awarded a solar lamp (no electricity in the villages) and each school is provided with solar panels and a computer lab as part of upgrading the learning capacity of the children. More on livelihoods in attachment.
The livelihood program is to increase earnings for the poorest (62% of the community live below the poverty line). Our aim is to increase their income by 100% within the next 5 years, by creating income opportunities from the sustainable use of the natural environment in the area: Aquaculture, clam culture, crab culture (crab hatchery in the construction phase) seaweed production, virgin coconut oil production, fishing and fish processing, ice production for the local fishing fleet, and many more activities based on a request from the communities, as well as training in social enterprises, women empowerment, school support, distribution of solar panels and solar lamps, energy forest for cooking, energy-saving cookstoves, flood protection, safe drinking water supply (partly with rainwater harvesting) and other small scale infrastructure projects.
The project areas have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with increased unemployment. WIF has supported the most marginalized in the communities by providing them with food and other basic goods, as well as by donating equipment to local hospitals. WIF has stepped up their support to local communities in response to growing humanitarian needs and has reported record planting on 3,400 hectares in 2021.
A series of other relevant initiatives with social and economic benefits are also being rolled out as part of the projects including:
- The distribution of solar lamps to all school children in areas deprived of electricity to optimize their learning time
- Schools have been equipped with photocopiers, computers and training programs, while partnerships are being established to raise awareness of mangrove forest restoration among the younger generation
- Solar panels have been installed on the roofs of school buildings
- Training programs on various skills are ongoing, and a renewable investment fund for cottage industry and aquaculture projects have been established
- Support for women’s empowerment
- Distribution of improved energy-efficient cookstoves to families
- Installation of rainwater collectors for families deprived of drinking water during the dry season
- Creating new income-generating activities from marine resources such as shellfish and seaweed production, crab farming or other aquaculture activities, in addition to production based on sustainable natural resources such as virgin coconut oil or mushrooms
- A pioneering seaweed project has been successfully completed for an extension to other areas with job opportunities
- Over 500 disadvantaged families have been so far directly benefited by the project
- Over 600 planters have been mobilized and trained, with the majority 60% female workers.
- Restoring biodiversity in the area with the protection of endangered species, making it possible for wild elephants to seek shelter in the newly planted forest
- A mangrove gene bank was established in cooperation with Pathein University, Myanmar
Local communities play a critical role in the project activities.
Livelihood activities implemented by WIF’s expert team are structured based on their requirements. Village tract communities are formed and periodic meetings, awareness sessions are held to maintain a close relationship with the local communities. Local communities who are employed in the project receive reasonable wages for their services.
Furthermore, in each of the villages where the project is implemented, there is a system to record their grievances and complaints.
The project involves low-income families in the area who get more opportunities to increase their income and thus be less prone to pursue unsustainable practices that might increase CO2 emissions, harm the environment, and further reduce the mangrove populations.
The project creates direct employment at agreed wages for the local communities involved in the project and provides all necessary training. The project promotes a working family model where both men and women actively participate in the project.
Improvements to the infrastructure in the area were completed to provide economic accessibility of the project area and also facilitate farmers’ access and strengthen the competitiveness of the farmers when it comes to taking their food crops to the market.
Throughout the project implementation, village communities have shown a keen interest in the employment opportunities and periodic training and awareness programs delivered through the project.
Furthermore, the project has aided the village communities by building dykes to prevent flooding, providing basic computer training programs for students, providing computer accessories to schools, distributing solar lamps to students, and constructing rainwater harvesting ponds to provide safe drinking water during the dry season. These developments to their villages have uplifted the spirits among the village communities resulting in more engagement in the project over time.
Monitoring was organised according to Section 06 of AR-AM0014 and as mentioned in the VCS PD version 3.0. All data mentioned in this section will be collected and archived electronically and kept for 2 years after the end of the last crediting period.
Keeping records of the project boundary is one of the most important activities during monitoring. The geographic coordinates of the project boundary and all stratifications within the project have been established and were recorded. Field surveys using GPS, satellite images and land use maps were used in this activity. The project participant employs a GIS Expert who has been coordinating this section, and two staff members who record updated boundaries in the field.
These existing plants are not accounted for in the carbon stocks but are left to grow and are monitored throughout the crediting period of the project activity. During the baseline studies, the area is visited by the survey team. Existing plants are recorded. Therefore, there are records of existing plants in each sample plot. These plants will not be removed and will be monitored throughout the project period.
Supervision of Project Activities:
The Project Manager has full responsibilities for all activities and has trained all staff members regarding current and innovative mangrove forest management, mangrove nursery techniques, natural resource management and community forestry activities. Technical Assistants and Field Assistant supervise all field operations.
The number of samples and sample size is determined using “Calculation of the number of sample plots for measurements within A/R CDM project activities (Version 02.1.0)”.
Sampling Plot Area:
10m x 10m plots of 0.01 ha (100m2) were laid out. The QC and QA procedures under the project aim at implementing standard and methodical procedures for monitoring and collection of precise field measurements. Quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) procedures that are applied to monitor actual GHG removals by sinks include: (1) Collecting reliable field measurements and Precise field monitoring; (2) Verifying methods used to collect field data using independent expert opinion; (3) Verifying data entry and analysis techniques using independent expert opinion; and (4) Data maintenance and archiving.
Plantations established from 2015 to 2019 are applicable for this monitoring period. Permanent plots were monitored annually to assess actual above and below-ground biomass accumulation.
Measuring and Estimating Carbon Stock Changes Over Time:
Carbon stock changes in above- and below-ground biomass on each plot were estimated using the diameter as a parameter. Soil organic carbon was also calculated.
Stratification and Sample Size:
Sample plots of 0.01 Ha (100m2) with 10m x 10m were established systematically with a random start for each stratum based on the year of planting.
Monitoring GHG Emissions by Sources as the Results of the ARR VCS Project Activity:
GHG emissions from the project are monitored annually.
The projects have achived the high survival rate of 96% of planted trees.
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
A/R Large-scale Methodology: Afforestation and reforestation of degraded mangrove habitats (AR AM0014)
Version 03.0 and under Sectoral scope(s): 14 of the Clean Development Mechanism
The methodology also refers to the latest approved versions of the following tools:
- “Combined tool to identify the baseline scenario and demonstrate additionality in A/R CDM project activities” (Version 01);
(ii) “Estimation of carbon stocks and change in carbon stocks of trees and shrubs in A/R CDM project activities” (Version 04.2);
(iii) “Estimation of carbon stocks and change in carbon stocks in dead wood and litter in A/R CDM project activities” (Version 03.1);
(iv) “Estimation of non-CO2 GHG emissions resulting from burning of biomass attributable to an A/R CDM project activity” (Version 04.0.0);
(v) “Estimation of the increase in GHG emissions attributable to displacement of pre-project agricultural activities in A/R CDM project activity” (Version 02.0).
(vi) “Guideline for objective demonstration and assessment of barriers” (Version 01 EB-50)
- 2015- 2018: RINA Services
- 2019: TUV SUD South Asia (Pvt) Ltd.
- 2020: 4K Earth Science (Pvt) Ltd.
- 2021: 52,727 4K Earth Science (Pvt) Ltd (estimated)
User Right To The Land:
According to Myanmar Forest Law of 1998 with latest amendments, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation/Forest Department has the authority to grant user right of land for mangrove restoration for 30 years to local communities with capacity/support to implement mangrove restoration and take care of the planted trees. This can be extended for another 30 years based on proper management, or canceled in case of land misuse. The process to provide communities is followed up by WIF with practical support, based on MOU with each village track management committee, guaranteed and supported by Forest Department. The area has already been declared a Public Protected Forest. This gives Forest Department the authority to intervene in case of misuse of the land, as a guarantee for future land protection.
WIF has already gained considerable experience since 2012 when the first mangrove project with research was started in Myanmar. Presently WIF is implementing restoration projects on 15,000 ha in 4 regions in cooperation with local communities and Forest Department. WIFs first VERRA restoration project was approved by VERRA in 2017, as the first project of its kind in Asia.
Sharing of VCU’s Carbon Right:
The project areas are surveyed in line with MOU between WIF and Forest Department, providing WIF with VCS carbon rights with 50% of carbon to investors and 50% for livelihoods/sustainable development to participatory communities.
WIF will provide the highest quality management with experienced and motivated field leadership, supported by technical assistants who graduated from Forest University and with well-trained, committed planters from the communities.
The forest will regularly be inspected by WIF staff, in addition to regular satellite observations and use of a special drone with AI and sensors for carbon mitigation, especially developed for this purpose by Andoya Space Centre, Norway.
Yes, transferable to other countries.
We have identified Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam because of the large amounts of degraded mangrove areas and political will.
Scaling a sustainable combination of effective climate action and human development.
The projects will be implemented by WIF in 6 ASEAN countries from 2022 and 2023. Available land over 100,000 Ha with the capacity to mitigate up to 150m tons CO2 and reduce poverty for over 10m people. 50% of carbon to be shared with investors and 50% for community development in solidarity with our neighbors in the global village.
Project development to be implemented by WIF using its unique cost-effective planting methods with up to 96% survival rate of plants developed during 10 years of research and test planting in cooperation with international investors, universities partner communities.
During the development period, WIF has initiated several mangrove restoration projects in 3 countries, achieving the first mangrove project in Asia to be verified by VERRA. Also successfully planted on wetlands, grasslands and mudflats, achieving the highest survival rate of plants.
- Develop seagrass protocols with partners, for VERRA certification and implementation.
- Develop improved carbon protocols, for VERRA implementation.
It begins with the collection of seeds, nursing the seeds to plants and planting seedlings after 6 months of growth. Some mangrove species produce large seeds which can be planted directly after cleaning the land and preparing the soil. It takes around one year to get a new mangrove in the ground. Weeding occurs during the two first years after planting. We monitor the health and growth of the plant in 100 sample plots. From January to March the seeds are collected and the areas prepared. The planting process starts in April and ends in late August.
WIF has a reserve tree bank with 200,000 trees for replacement. Our survival rate of plants is 93 percent, far above the average of other projects (2020 evaluation report). The success has led to requests from several communities and regional governments for new projects. With increased financial support, there is no limit for scaling up our activities. Your contribution is therefore of great importance
120 countries have environments suitable for mangrove forests. Picture: (Wikipedia)