Carbon Calculations


Conservatism is a key Kyoto principle - you must be sure at all times that at least as much carbon is being captured by a project as was anticipated and sold to the carbon buyer. The Woodland Carbon Code and Forest Carbon together provide several ways to ensure that this is the case, through their buffering processes:

Forestry Commission Ecological Site Classification (ESC) model

Before we start we need to know what trees to plant, and how they will behave where they are planted. The Forestry Commission ESC model gives us this information we need, based on latitude, longitude, altitude, soil type and meteorology of the site we are looking at.

 2. Woodland Carbon Code carbon model buffer

The Woodland Carbon Code carbon model projects how much CO2 the trees will capture at a given location, based on the planting density and management regime. It then deducts 20% of the projection automatically, as a contingency. This is the first phase of the buffering - reducing the carbon capture that can be sold to ensure that the conservatism rule is met. 

 3. Woodland Carbon Code risk model buffer

After deducting the 20% Forest Carbon conducts a rigourous risk assessment of the project, using the Woodland Carbon Code risk assessment tool. This will result in the deduction of a further 15% - 40% from the carbon capture that can be sold.This deduction becomes part of a pooled buffer for all certified projects.

After the first two rounds of buffering we arrive at a situation where only between 56% and 68% of the anticipated carbon capture of a project can be sold. 

 4. Forest Carbon buffering

After the Code buffers comes the Forest Carbon buffer. Since we were established in 2006 we have been deducting our own additional buffer from all projects and putting them into a pooled buffer for all of our partners, to enable us to 'insure' all of our projects. No other woodland carbon provider in the UK can offer this, and it means we can offer the Forest Carbon Guatantee: come what may we will deliver the carbon capture that at partner has invested in. 

The Forest Carbon Calculator

Before the advent of the Woodland Carbon Code Forest Carbon developed its own transparent and dual peer reviewed methodology to assess the likely carbon for a given species mix at a given location and altitude. This model was assessed and accepted byvtwo leading forestry carbon scientists. Since the arrival of the Code we have retired our model and use instead that supplied by the Forestry Commission for the Code. Interestingly, when testing all of our old carbon calculations against the Forestry Commission's new model we found that our results were remarkably similar.