This paper proposes a new land-change model, the Geographic Emission Benchmark (GEB), as an approach to quantify land-cover changes associated with deforestation and forest degradation. The GEB is designed to determine ‘baseline’ activity data for reference levels. Unlike other models that forecast business-as-usual future deforestation, the GEB internally (1) characterizes ‘forest’ and ‘deforestation’ with minimal processing and ground-truthing and (2) identifies ‘deforestation hotspots’ using open-source spatial methods to estimate regional rates of deforestation. The GEB also characterizes forest degradation and identifies leakage belts. This paper compares the accuracy of GEB with GEOMOD, a popular land-change model used in the UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Program. Using a case study of the Chinese tropics for comparison, GEB’s projection is more accurate than GEOMOD’s, as measured by Figure of Merit. Thus, the GEB produces baseline activity data that are moderately accurate for the setting of reference levels.
CSS Publication Number:
Journal of Land Use Science
Kim, Oh Seok and Joshua P Newell. (2015) “The ‘Geographic Emission Benchmark’ model: A baseline approach to measuring emissions associated with deforestation and forest degradation.” Journal of Land Use Science, 10(4):466-489.