Many international carbon standards involve assessments of Leakage, or changes to carbon stocks outside of the project boundary as a result of the project going ahead. International carbon standards describe two main types of leakage, and their relevance in terms of a woodland creation project is described below:
Given that the Woodland Carbon Code only deals with woodland creation, then only activity-shifting leakage would appear to be relevant. However, there are a number of laws governing the protection of semi-natural habitats and existing woodlands, so that any activity-shifting leakage within the UK (in terms of intensification of use of land outside the project boundary) is highly unlikely.
For example for deforestation:
For protection of biodiversity and other semi-natural habitats:
Due to the existing legislation in the UK which protects semi-natural habitats, biodiveristy and also protects against deforestation, the Woodland Carbon Code assumes that in most cases there will be NO LEAKAGE (i.e. leakage = 0, no change over time) in woodland creation projects.
However, if the project will result in more intensive use of another area of land under the same ownership or lessee, then any greenhouse gas emissions, through changes in land use or management of the area of land should be accounted for in the calculation of net project carbon sequestration, for the duration of the project. Leakage assessments are likely to be project-specific. The following guidance should help define the scope of the assessment.
1. The following carbon pools shall be included:
2. Any land-use change or intensification within the UK which can be attributed to the project going ahead should be accounted for.
3. Only significant greenhouse gas emissions need to be accounted for in the project's net carbon sequestration. Emissions are considered significant if they amount to more than 5% of the project carbon sequestration over the duration of the project.
4. Projects can refer to the IPCC 2003 Good Practice Guide for Land Use, Land-Use change and Forestry and the IPCC 2006 Guidelines for national GHG inventories for guidance.