It is well established that deforestation and forest degradation, as well as forest landscape restoration (FLR) activities, play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. Efforts to combat climate change have been designed specifically to influence the rate at which these activities occur, such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) programs and Bonn Challenge Commitments. Yet access to credible, consistent, and complete analyses of the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of these activities at national or subnational scales has historically been limited.

In partnership with IUCN, Winrock International has developed two comprehensive global databases:

  1. Global Forest GHG Emissions Database: Historical emissions from deforestation and forest degradation activities
  2. Global FLR CO2 Removals Database: Potential carbon dioxide (CO2) removals from specific FLR actions

These databases offer information at both national and subnational scales on the greenhouse gas impacts that specific land use activities have, and thus provide policy-makers, donors, and researchers a powerful new resource for science-based decision-making.

For a detailed description of methods and sources used to develop the Global Forest GHG Emissions Database and Global FLR CO2 Removals Database, see the Methods and Sources document below, along with a summary document and overview presentation. 

Global Forest GHG Emissions Database

Drawing from a wide range of global data sources and methodological approaches, the Global Forest GHG Emissions Database offers historical emissions from deforestation and dominant forest degradation activities, including timber harvesting, fuelwood extraction, and fire. Estimates were derived by applying scientifically robust methods considered generally consistent with the IPCC Tier 2 approach. Data were derived from global, spatially-explicit datasets, published and peer-reviewed literature, and nationally-reported data.

Emissions reported in this database are gross – in other words, the total carbon dioxide (and nitrous oxide and methane in the case of fire) emitted as a result of the activity. Subsequent potential forest regeneration is not considered in the estimate.

Global GHG emissions maps
Global GHG emissions maps. Source: Winrock.


Global FLR CO2 Removals Database

The Global FLR CO2 Removals Database offers estimates of potential removals from a selection of FLR activities, including:

  1. Planted forests and woodlots: Planting trees on formerly forested land. Native species or exotics and for various purposes (fuelwood, timber, building, poles, fruit production, etc.)
  2. Natural regeneration: Natural regeneration of formerly forested land. Often the site is highly degraded and no longer has seed sources, some planting will probably be required
  3. Agroforestry: Establishment and management of trees on active agricultural land (under shifting agriculture), either through planting or regeneration, to improve crop productivity, provide dry season fodder, increase soil fertility, enhance water retention, etc.
  4. Mangrove restoration: Establishment or enhancement of mangroves along coastal areas and estuaries.

Values for potential carbon dioxide removals by each FLR activity offered in the Global FLR Removals Database are the result of a highly comprehensive review of over 144 published and unpublished studies of tree growth worldwide. Data from these studies were used to develop a series of regionally-specific growth models for each FLR activity, and thus may represent an improvement over IPCC default values for estimating the potential carbon dioxide removals from FLR activities.