BOX 2–1
Carbon Sinks in the Kyoto Protocol

Articles 3.3 and 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol address issues related to land use, land use change, and forestry in the following excerpts:

Article 3.3: The net changes in greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from direct human-induced land use change and forestry activities, limited to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation since 1990, measured as verifiable changes in carbon stocks in each commitment period, shall be used to meet the commitments under this Article of each Party included in Annex 1.

Article 3.4: The COP [Conference of the Parties] serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first session or as soon as practicable thereafter, decide upon modalities, rules and guidelines as to how, and which, additional human-induced activities related to changes in greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks in the agricultural soils and the land use change and forestry categories shall be added to, or subtracted from, the assigned amounts for Parties included in Annex 1, taking into account uncertainties, transparency in reporting, verifiability, the methodological work of the IPCC, the advice provided by the SBSTA [Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice] in accordance with Article 5 and the decisions of the COP. Such a decision shall apply in the second and subsequent commitment periods. A Party may choose to apply such a decision on these additional human-induced activities for its first commitment period, provided that these activities have taken place since 1990. (UNFCCC, 1997)

LULUCF activities that have occurred since 1990 (see Box 2-1). Article 3.3 addresses afforestation, reforestation,2 and deforestation and is compulsory for all Annex 1 countries—the industrialized nations. Article 3.4 covers forest management, cropland management, grazing land management, and human-induced revegetation that has occurred since 1990. Article 3.4 specifies that nations may choose the activities they wish to declare in the first commitment


“Afforestation” is defined as the conversion of land to forest that has not been forested for a period of at least 50 years. “Reforestation” is the conversion to forest of land that has been forested within 50 years but was not forested at the end of 1989.

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