ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc.’s
“Community Ecosystem Restoration Program”
Between 1850 and 1998, 491 billion tonnes of CO2, representing 33% of global
anthropogenic CO2 emissions, have arisen from ecosystem degradation and land use
changes - predominantly from forest ecosystems (2000 IPCC Special Report). Globally,
60% of ecosystem services, including climate regulation, are reported as degraded (2005
Millenium Ecosystem Assessment).
Within this context, ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc. (ERA) has developed
the Community Ecosystem Restoration Program (CERP), which provides a range of
climate mitigation, environmental, and social benefits to B.C. communities. The first
CERP project to be undertaken involves the restoration of degraded riparian areas and
improvement of park ecosystems in the District of Maple Ridge, BC, Canada.
This project will restore degraded community forest ecosystems in permanently protected
lands in the District of Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada, and in so doing, remove vast
tonnages of CO2 from the atmosphere. The project activity involves the establishment
and protection of long-lived native tree species and ensuring the growth and productivity
of restored ecosystems through silvicultural best practices and long term Agreements
with local governments. In this manner, historical, productive, native forest ecosystems
will be established, providing GHG removals and co-benefits to current and future
The project area covers numerous, discrete, protected areas owned by, or under the
jurisdiction of municipal governments, including various municipal parklands. The entire
project will sequester 2.23 million tonnes of CO2 over the 80 year period covered by an
Agreement with the municipality. Underpinning the critical climate change mitigation
effect of the Project are myriad ecosystem and social benefits delivered over many
decades and into the future.
ERA is committed to undertaking and achieving continuous improvement in the design,
planning and execution of the CERP projects.
CERP provides a range of substantive ecosystem services to the
community and environment.
i). Broad-based social benefit to residents.
By restoring degraded parks and greenbelts throughout their community,
recreational opportunities are improved and diversified. Experiencing first-hand
the restored ecosystems that originally existed on the landscape will yield an
increased quality of life for local residents.
ii). Educational opportunities and involvement of educators and students.
ERA ecosystem restorations are being used to introduce the principles of
ecosystem integrity and biodiversity to students in the district. Programming
includes explanation of endangered and invasive species, natural history, and
concludes with students undertaking a tree planting.
iii). Participation of local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
In Maple Ridge, the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) and local
Streamkeepers actively support ERA and the CERP for the direct benefits
provided. These organizations use ERA project areas in their educational and
iv). Support for an ecosystem restoration-based economy.
Employment of local field operations crews, plus support of local businesses for
equipment, support and tree-growing is becoming an aditional economic driver to
the Maple Ridge area. As individuals become trained in high-quality
implementation of ecosystem restoration acitivites, this creates the potential for
spinoff projects and increased capacity for implementing this type of project.
i). Restoration of native biodiversity.
The CERP re-establishes native tree species on a landscape that originally
supported them prior to large scale logging and development over the last hundred
years. As these ecosystems grow and thrive, they provide refugia for climate
sensitive and endangered species. Restored fish and wildlife habitat also bolsters
population health of other more common native fauna.
ii). Reduction and Control of invasive (“exotic”) plant species.
The clearing of invasive brush species such as the Himalayan blackberry (Rubus
discolor) plus planting of native trees to shade out re-establishment excludes
invasive species and allows re-establishment of a natural forest regime. In absence
of the CERP, project lands would degrade to very low-carbon brush ecosystems
and remain that way into the distant future due to competition effects of brush and
lack of conifer overstory or seed-stock.
iii). UV Protection.
Tree plantings in school yards provide students with protection from the sun’s UV
rays, reducing the risk of skin cancer (ERA was nominated for a Globe
Environmental Award in 2006 by the Canadian Cancer Society).
iv). Stream bank stabilization and improvement of water quality.
CERP replaces degraded lands and senescents forest with vibrant and long lived
forest ecosystems, restoring the natural systems of the project areas. With
stabilization of soil by diverse root systems of planted trees, and restoration of the
forest element of the hydrogeologic (water) cycle, runoff is slowed, erosion
controlled, and moisture is more effectively retained on the landscape. As well,
the improvement in water clarity and cooler water temperatures brought on by
shading provide restored and enhanced habitat for sensitive trout and salmon
ISO 14064-2 Validation and Verification
ERA’s CERP is fully Validated and Verified to ISO 14064-2, in accordance to guidance
contained in ISO 14064-3. ERA selected ISO 14064-2 as the most rigorous and pertinent
Greenhouse Gas accounting standard available for the CERP. ISO 14064-2 is part of a
new voluntary series of standards developed through an international consensus-based
approach involving stakeholders from industry, government, NGOs and service
professionals. ISO 14064 is designed to help organizations and governments in
measuring, reporting and verifying GHG emissions. Developed and approved by more
than 50 countries, ISO 14064 has been approved as National Standards of Canada.
ISO 14064-2 specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance at the project
level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of activities intended to cause
greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removal enhancements. It includes
requirements for planning a GHG project, identifying and selecting GHG sources, sinks
and reservoirs relevant to the project and baseline scenario, monitoring, quantifying,
documenting and reporting GHG project performance and managing data quality.
The CERP was validated and verified to the ISO 14064-2 standard by Bodo von
Schilling, RPF CEA(SFM) EMS(LA), an environmental Auditor highly experienced in
the forest ecosystems of B.C.
The Community Ecosystem Restoration Project
1. Type of GHG project
The Maple Ridge CERP is a “reforestation” project, as defined by
UNFCCC/CP/2001/13/Add.1.1 The project is being undertaken on land that is currently
occupied by invasive species and A. rubra stands in decline, and that would revert to non-
forest land within the time frame of the CERP, without an intervention. The project
activities of brush and alder removal, followed by tree planting, are classed as
“reforestation”, the direct human-induced conversion of non-forested land to forested
land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed
sources, on land that was forested but has been converted to non-forested land.
2. Project location
The first CERP project is located on lands within the District of Maple Ridge, in the
Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Project location, including geographic and
physical information has been secured and recorded for each CERP project location in
3. Conditions prior to project initiation
The riparian zones that make up the project area of the Maple Ridge CERP project are the
result of natural regeneration of the landscape following the widespread logging of the
Maple Ridge area that occurred between 80 and 40 years ago. The parklands included in
this project followed a similar path of deforestation, but have undergone a range of uses
since that time. All of the riparian areas in the CERP were clear cut, and re-grew with
thick stands of the A. rubra. As a nitrogen-fixing primary seral species, A. rubra rapidly
colonized these riparian zones, out-competing the previously dominant conifer species.
As such, today we see that riparian zones and their adjacent areas lack a long-lived,
riparian conifer dominated forest, and attendant diversity of the mixed forests that
occupied most of these sites prior to anthropogenic activity.
A. rubra is a short lived tree species, with an average lifespan of 40-60 years.2 After this
age, Alder stands go into decline, showing dead and dying tops, low re-growth and
reduced vigor. By age 80, the majority of trees in a stand are dead and dying, and by age
120, alder is all but completely replaced by low brush that has sprung up in the under-
story as trees have died and fallen. At present, the non-native Himalayan blackberry
(Rubus discolor) is the predominant brush species found in analogous sites throughout
the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Due to the intense shading effects of
R. discolor, and lack of viable conifer seed, these brush sites will remain free of large
trees well into the future. The seral progression in Maple Ridge would typically return to
large, native conifers over time, but due to the fragmented nature of these plots, high rates
Project typologies. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/workshops/other_meetings/application/pdf/11cp7.pdf
BC Ministry of Forests “Tree Book”
of invasion by non-native brush species, and lack of sufficient conifer seed stock, in
absence of treatment, low-carbon regimes of dying forest and low brush will persist on
these areas for a an extended period of time.
4. How the project will achieve GHG removal enhancements
Carbon in the form of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in
relatively fast growing newly planted native species, consisting of T. plicata, T.
heterophylla, P. menziesii, P. sitchensis and Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa. Trees
will be planted individually or in small clusters and will reflect the growth of single trees
with full live crown. This yields more rapid CO2 sequestration by the planted trees due to
reduced competition and increased photosynthetic activity. Prior to planting these native
species, A. rubra, invasive shrubs and brush will be cleared. The carbon stored on the
landscape will be higher under the new regime, due both to the increased amount of
biomass standing in the conifers and cottonwoods, and the fact that the existing A. rubra
ecosystem is naturally dying back to a low carbon brush regime in absence of treatment.
i). Removal of carbon, and measurable units.
To most accurately reflect the sequestration profile of singly and cluster planted
trees, all calculations, estimates and verification are performed on a per-tree basis.
The CERP methodology measures carbon flux on the landscape of the baseline
and project case. Net sequestration determined by ERA as a result of the
implementation of the CERP, is reached by subtracting baseline carbon from total
sequestration figures. All reporting is undertaken in units of CO2e.
The CERP utilizes the CO2fix tool in order to quantify GHG emissions and/or
removals for selected GHG sources, sinks and/or reservoirs. CO2fix is functional
tool for estimation of landscape Carbon flux, and very well suited for use in the
CERP. It has been accepted for use within the UNFCCC CDM framework in the
case of “ARAM0002: Restoration of Degraded Lands through
Afforestation/Reforestation.” The CERP has utilized CO2fix in a manner
consistent with that for which it was approved for the identified project, and is a
suitable tool for use in this case, under ISO 14064-2 framework.
“The CO2fix model simulates carbon dynamics and management of single
species, multi-species, uneven-aged stands, and agro-forestry systems. It
simulates stocks and fluxes of carbon in forest stands on a per hectare basis and at
one-year intervals based on growth rates of stem wood available in yield tables
and data from field inventories. The basic input in the model is the stem volume
growth (from the yield tables or allometric equations or research studies) and
parameters on the allocation of volume or biomass to the other tree compartments
such as foliage, branches and roots. Carbon stocks in the living biomass are
calculated as the balance between growth and loss (from turnover, mortality and
UNFCCC ARAM0002 http://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/ARmethodologies/approved_ar.html
ii). Planting density
Instead of undertaking full-coverage grid planting, CERP implements single tree
and cluster plantings. This increases efficiency and tends to lower tree mortality.
This approach suits the spatially diverse and varied nature of the riparian zones to
be treated. In addition, single and cluster planting minimize need for brushing and
clearing A. rubra. The CERP used the forestry stand data and growth yield model
Tipsy 3.2b to inform and proof the decision making process to go with cluster
planting. The CERP has used direct measurement of each of the species to be
planted, in order to generate their growth tables.
iii). Competition with brush
Fast growing brush species and grasses will provide competition for planted trees
in the first few years of the trees’ lives. Brush will be removed yearly for the first
seven years of the project. At or about year 7 the trees will out-compete herbs
and shrubs. This will limit the requirements for maintenance and brushing to these
first several years.
5. Environmental impacts
The Maple Ridge CERP project is an ecosystem restoration undertaken in cooperation
with a municipal government. Compliance with all municipal bylaws and pertinent
regulations has been confirmed. No Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
6. Relevant outcomes from stakeholder consultations and mechanisms for on-going
For the Maple Ridge project, stakeholder consultations began in 2004, and continue with
agencies and with community groups. Agencies included Greater Vancouver Regional
District, District of Maple Ridge, Allouette River Management Society, Kanaka
Education Environmental Partnership Society, and with community contacts and
businesses interested in ecosystem restoration. All stakeholders support the restoration
efforts. Community consultation resulted in the formation of a Steering Committee to
oversee the project.
7. Monitoring the GHG project
Monitoring shall be taken at Permanent Sample Plots (PSP) located throughout the
project area. These plots will be representatively distributed to include:
• Species Mix
• Site type – Either pure deciduous stand or mixed deciduous/conifer
• Soil type – Ravines, gully side hills, blackberry dominated open flats,
immediate zone of creek.
i). Origin of the data.
Growth data shall be derived from direct measurement trees on project lands. The
output data streams of current carbon sequestration and projected future sequestration
shall be derived from this growth data being run through the CERP methodology for
estimating carbon sequestration.
ii) Monitoring methodologies, including estimation, modelling, measurement &
Data will be gathered upon each monitoring from permanent plots that shall be
established in the CERP project, and fed back into the calculations and models
outlined in the CERP ISO 14064-2 methodology. The location of these plots shall be
selected shall be randomly selected from the planting areas, at a proportion
representative of project land types in the CERP. The sampling design and execution
shall correspond to current best practices in BC forestry. Newly estimated data
generated from specific data measured on the landscape during monitoring shall be
compared against the data used to generate original growth curves measured at the
outset of the project.
8. Company Description
ERA's principals, Robert Falls, Ph.D., R.P.Bio. and Bart Simmons, M.Eng., Q.E.P., have
over 50 years of direct involvement in climate change research and mitigation, and
ecosystem restoration across Canada. This experience is backed up by strategic and
operational capacity amongst the entire ERA staff. ERA is poised to become a world-
class provider of carbon offset services and products, including its EcoNeutral™ Offset
ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) was established in June, 2004. ERA
works with forward-looking communities, ethical companies, and local governments, to
identify opportunities and implement programs to restore degraded ecosystems and
enhance their capacity to play a role in climate change mitigation.
Since its inception, ERA has established working relationships and partnerships with, and
provided products and services to a wide range of entities, large and small, directly and
through re-sellers. One of ERA’s forward-thinking early partners, Zerofootprint.net, has
acquired 101,000 tonnes of ISO 14064-2 Validated and Verified offset.
ERA has secured rights to develop approximately over 10 million tonnes of CO2
removals in Canada.
For further information and inquiries, please contact:
Joseph Pallant, B.Sc., MBA
Ecosystem Restoration Associates
Building 10, 340B
555 Brooksbank Ave.
North Vancouver, BC, Canada. V7J3S5