Baseline assessment

The use of public data in establishing project context

The baseline scenario in this methodology consists of categorizing the ecosystem, estimating the biodiversity richness, and estimating the threat of biodiversity loss. Projects must update their baseline scenario once every five years with current data and calculations may change as a result.

In the ISBM, unlike carbon projects, VBC calculations are not made from a projected baseline scenario, against a projected project scenario (Pollock et al., 2020). Rather, this methodology is simplified for direct market access to IP and LC. In other words, these are not areas that need restoration or improvement, but these areas are in threat of being disrupted or damaged. Maintaining these intact ecologies, rather than changing them, is the appropriate outcome of these projects. The ISBM baseline scenario establishes the global value of, and threat toward, the BCP’s intact ecosystem from all publicly-available sources. Then the BCP project scenario establishes the crediting area for that intact ecosystem.

In this context, historical and projection data is useful, but not required as it may be very difficult to obtain, and prohibitively exclusive to IP and LC-led projects in biodiverse regions with a lack of access to research funding and in-situ researchers (Appendix C).

Given the need for conservation prior to full quantification, external standards such as the IUCN Red List of ecosystems and geographically distributed data can serve as proxy metrics where baseline data is unavailable. However, baseline scenarios should be revalidated every five years for updated data.

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