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Implications of sampling design and sample size for national carbon accounting systems

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Köhl, Michael; Lister, Andrew; Scott, Charles T.; Baldauf, Thomas; Plugge, Daniel

Year Published

2011

Publication

Carbon Balance and Management. 6:10.

Abstract

Countries willing to adopt a REDD regime need to establish a national Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system that provides information on forest carbon stocks and carbon stock changes. Due to the extensive areas covered by forests the information is generally obtained by sample based surveys. Most operational sampling approaches utilize a combination of earth-observation data and in-situ field assessments as data sources. We compared the cost-efficiency of four different sampling design alternatives (simple random sampling, regression estimators, stratified sampling, 2-phase sampling with regression estimators) that have been proposed in the scope of REDD. Three of the design alternatives provide for a combination of in-situ and earth-observation data. Under different settings of remote sensing coverage, cost per field plot, cost of remote sensing imagery, correlation between attributes quantified in remote sensing and field data, as well as population variability and the percent standard error over total survey cost was calculated. The cost-efficiency of forest carbon stock assessments is driven by the sampling design chosen. Our results indicate that the cost of remote sensing imagery is decisive for the cost-efficiency of a sampling design. The variability of the sample population impairs cost-efficiency, but does not reverse the pattern of cost-efficiency of the individual design alternatives.

Citation

Köhl, Michael; Lister, Andrew; Scott, Charles T.; Baldauf, Thomas; Plugge, Daniel. 2011. Implications of sampling design and sample size for national carbon accounting systems. Carbon Balance and Management. 6:10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1750-0680-6-10.

Last updated on: August 19, 2014