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Peatland Protocol Overview

Executive Summary: The Peatland Protocol is a certification framework that aims to promote the restoration and conservation of peatlands for carbon reduction and sustainable development. The standard provides guidelines and requirements for projects focused on peatland restoration. It ensures the involvement of stakeholders, adherence to sustainable development goals, and the implementation of robust monitoring and verification systems.

Guiding Principles
  1. Project Scope: There are no restrictions on the size of the project, and both large and small-scale projects are eligible for certification.
  2. Project Design: The project design should consider the restoration objectives, interventions planning, and monitoring activities in collaboration with core and direct stakeholders.
  3. Stakeholder Participation: Stakeholders, including local communities, should be actively involved in the project’s integrity, baseline assessments, and restoration activities.
  4. Baseline Assessments: Projects must undergo baseline assessments to evaluate the current state of peatland degradation before initiating restoration activities.
  5. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Projects should align with the relevant SDGs and contribute to sustainable development in the local context.
Adherence to the Core Carbon Principles
  1. Additionality: The project must demonstrate that the restoration activities and carbon reduction would not have occurred without the project’s financial, legal, and environmental support.
  2. Permanence: The project should ensure carbon emission reduction during the credit issuing period and compensate for any reversals caused by extreme weather events or natural disturbances. Projects shall have a minimum duration of 30 years.
  3. Externalities: The project should strive to create positive externalities and mitigate negative ones.
  4. Double counting: The standard ensures transparent accounting of emission reductions and avoids double-counting by registering all transactions on the Peatland Protocol registry.
  5. Accuracy: Carbon calculations should be conservative and robust, utilizing remote sensing and up-to-date peatland-specific data.
  6. Effective governance: The standard will implement effective program governance to ensure transparency, accountability, continuous improvement, and the overall quality of carbon credits.
  7. Tracking: A digital blockchain-based registry is used to uniquely identify, record, and track mitigation activities and carbon credits.
  8. Transparency: Comprehensive and transparent information on credited mitigation activities should be publicly available in electronic format.
  9. Robust independent third-party validation and verification: Mitigation activities should undergo independent validation and verification processes.
  10. Sustainable development benefits and safeguards: Mitigation activities should conform to or exceed established industry best practices for social and environmental safeguards and deliver positive sustainable development impacts.
  11. Contribution towards net zero transition: Mitigation activities should avoid practices that are incompatible with achieving net-zero GHG emissions by mid-century.

Certification Procedure: Selection Process: Projects and developers must submit a project proposal and sourcing questionnaire for initial assessment and screening. The process includes evaluating the developer’s experience, legal status, team composition, and compliance with requirements.

Developer Due Diligence: The developer’s capacity, compliance with legal requirements, financial standing, and track record are assessed through due diligence processes.

Assessment & Approval Process: Once selected, the project undergoes an assessment process, including evaluating land tenure, carbon estimation, and risk assessment. Probationary documents are required to verify land ownership, right of use, and other relevant agreements.

The Peatland Protocol aims to ensure the credibility, integrity, and effectiveness of peatland restoration projects in achieving carbon reductions and contributing to sustainable development goals.

Digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (dMRV)

The Peatland Protocol (PP) is a carbon standard designed to promote the restoration and conservation of peatlands, leveraging their ability to sequester carbon and provide various environmental benefits. This document focuses on the digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (dMRV) system, an integral part of the PP that ensures accurate and transparent tracking of peatland restoration projects.

1. Digital MRV Overview

The digital MRV system is a key element of the Peatland Protocol, utilizing digital technologies to streamline data collection, analysis, and reporting processes. By leveraging advanced remote sensing technologies and establishing a centralized database, this system enhances transparency, accountability, and credibility throughout the project lifecycle.

2. Key Features of the digital MRV System

2.1 Data Collection: The Digital MRV system employs cutting-edge remote sensing technologies, including satellite imagery and InSAR ((Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar), a technique for mapping ground deformation using radar images of the Earth’s surface that are collected from orbiting satellites, to gather comprehensive and high-resolution data on peatland degradation and restoration activities. This enables precise baseline assessments and ongoing monitoring of project progress.

2.2 Data Management: To ensure data integrity, accessibility, and traceability, the Digital MRV system establishes a secure centralized blockchain-based database that sits on Concordium, a Layer 1 bockchain, with built-in ID verification. The database stores and manages all project-related data, including baseline assessments, restoration plans, monitoring results, and verification reports.

2.3 Real-time Monitoring: The Digital MRV system enables real-time monitoring of restoration areas, providing project developers with immediate insights into progress and potential issues. This capability allows for timely interventions and adjustments, maximizing the effectiveness of restoration efforts while minimizing adverse impacts on the surrounding environment.

2.4 Mitigation Activities: In cases where undesired results are identified, the Digital MRV system facilitates the implementation of mitigation activities. These activities address any issues that may arise during the restoration process, improving project outcomes and minimizing risks.

2.5 Audit and Verification: An accredited third-party auditor conducts a comprehensive audit of peatland recovery every five years, following the Audit Protocol. The Digital MRV system provides the necessary data and evidence to support the verification process, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of issued carbon credits.

3. Benefits of the digital MRV System

3.1 Transparency and Accountability: The digital MRV system enhances transparency by making project data and information publicly available in electronic format. This accessibility allows stakeholders, including the general public, to scrutinize mitigation activities and ensure compliance with best practices.

3.2 Efficient Data Analysis: Through the automation of data analysis processes, the MRV system significantly reduces the time and effort required for data processing. This efficiency enables project developers to make informed decisions and adjustments based on real-time information.

3.3 Enhanced Credibility: The digital MRV system strengthens the credibility of carbon credits issued under the Peatland Protocol. The utilization of advanced technologies and standardized monitoring procedures ensures accurate and robust carbon calculations, providing confidence to buyers and investors.

3.4 Facilitated Reporting: By automating data aggregation and generating comprehensive reports, the digital MRV system simplifies the reporting process. This streamlining saves time and resources for project developers, allowing them to focus on implementing and improving restoration activities.

3.5 Support for Sustainable Development Goals: The digital MRV system enables project developers to track and report on the contribution of peatland restoration projects to relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This alignment ensures that the projects support broader environmental and social objectives.

4. Conclusion

The Digital MRV system is a vital component of the Peatland Protocol, ensuring accurate, transparent, and efficient monitoring, reporting, and verification of peatland restoration projects. By utilizing advanced technologies and standardized procedures, the system enhances transparency, accountability, and credibility, supporting the overarching goals of the protocol.

C02 Quantification Methodology

  1. Objective: The primary objective of the Peatland Protocol is to measure and accurately report carbon emissions from degraded peatlands that have been restored by using “rewetting” as the principal restoration technique.
  2. Scope: The protocol applies to peatland restoration projects and focuses on measuring ‘bog breathing,’ or the seasonal rise and fall of the peat in response to changes in the condition of the peat that occur following restoration.
  3. Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV):

    3.1 Measurement: Utilizes ‘key indicators’ derived from Sentinel-1 SAR data, including indicators relating to the analysis of ‘bog breathing’ using InSAR. The data tracks the seasonal fluctuations of the peatland surface in response to rewetting, rainfall changes and greenhouse gas emissions.

    3.2 Global Verification: The satellite data is complemented with targeted observations of water table depth and surface condition on the ground. These observations should be done periodically using a sparse array of devices over the designated project area to show changes in water table depth during and following a restoration.

    3.3 Reporting: Reporting a comprehensive inventory of carbon emissions based on the measured data. The report will clearly state the method used for measurement and any related observations. It should also provide a detailed breakdown of the emissions to highlight the major sources.

    3.4 Verification: Conduct annual audits of the measurements and reporting to ensure accuracy and reliability. The audit process should evaluate both the satellite and ground data and the methods used to collect and analyze them.

  4. Principles Alignment: The Peatland Protocol aims to meet the core carbon principles as proposed by the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI).
  5. Implementation: Apply the protocol to large areas at low-cost, ensuring that it is both scientifically robust and fully auditable. The usage of satellite data combined with ground observations provides a cost-effective and scalable method of CO2 quantification.
  6. Outcomes: The application of the Peatland Protocol is designed to result in a scientifically accurate understanding of peatland carbon emissions, guiding actions to cut emissions and enhancing the overall environment. The Peatland Protocol also ensures the compatibility of the measurements with the standards set by ICVCM and VCMI.

This methodology offers a scientifically robust, reliable, fully auditable, and cost-effective approach to quantifying CO2 emissions from peatlands, informing strategies for restoration, emission reduction and environmental improvement.

Calculation of Carbon Certificate Issuance

In line with the Peatland Protocol’s carbon standard and methodology, this document illustrates the calculation of carbon certificate issuance for a theoretical project. This calculation is predicated on the water table depth at the inception of the project and the lifespan of the project. As per the rules set forth by the protocol, each project has a minimum life of 30 years, correlating with a minimum water table (“WTD”) depth of 30 cm at pre- restoration, and a maximum life of 100 years correlating with a minimum WTD of 100 cm, pre-restoration.

The carbon certificates issued represent the reduction in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) for a particular year, denoted as a vintage. Each certificate issued equates to a single tCO2e.

Consider a project involving the restoration of a land area of 100 hectares (ha) that has a predicted lifespan of 100 years. Assuming that in the calendar year 2025, the measured, verified, and validated reduction in CO2 is 5 tCO2e per ha, we have:

Area: 100 ha               Reduction per ha: 5 tCO2e/ha

The total amount of CO2 reduced is thus the product of these two quantities:

Total Reduction: 100 ha * 5 tCO2e/ha = 500 tCO2e

Therefore, the Peatland Protocol would facilitate the generation of 500 carbon certificates for the 2025 vintage, each representing one tCO2e.

If subsequent monitoring over the years supports the same level of reduction (5 tCO2e/ha), the number of certificates issued for each year would remain steady at 500 tCO2e. As such, the total carbon certificate issuance over the lifespan of the project (100 years) would be:

Total Issuance: 500 tCO2e/year * 100 years = 50,000 tCO2e

Hence, assuming the reduction in CO2 levels remains consistent over the project lifespan, a total of 50,000 carbon certificates would be issued.


The Peatland Protocol Registry serves as the central hub for managing and tracking all Peatland Protocol certificates. It ensures the transparency, integrity, and accountability of the certification process by allocating unique serial numbers to each certificate, preventing any instances of double-counting or double-selling.

The registry operates as an internal database, supported by an online account management platform. Its primary objective is to ensure complete traceability and validity for all carbon certificates throughout their lifecycle.

Key Functions of the Registry
  1. Record and Visualization: The registry records and visualizes all registered projects and validated certificates. It provides a comprehensive overview of the projects and certificates participating in the Peatland Protocol. This function allows stakeholders to monitor the progress and impact of the certified projects.
  2. Compliance with the Peatland Protocol: The registry ensures that all processes are carried out in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the Peatland Protocol. It verifies that the certification procedures align with the prescribed standards, guaranteeing the credibility and consistency of the carbon certificates.
  3. Certificate Management: The registry facilitates various certificate management activities, including the holding, transferring, retiring, and cancelling of certificates. It enables the seamless transfer of ownership from sellers to buyers or other third-party entities. Sellers and buyers can view their respective certificate account balances through the online platform.
  4. Buffer Certificate Management: The registry manages buffer certificates, which are reserved for situations that require the replenishment or cancellation of certificates. Buffer certificates are utilized in cases of reversals or premature termination from sellers, ensuring the proper adjustment of certificate balances.
  5. Custodial Services and Ownership Records: The registry acts as a custodian of the certificates, maintaining accurate records of their legal ownership. It safeguards the integrity of the ownership information and provides a reliable source for verifying the certificate holders.
Certificate Lifecycle
  1. Transferable: Certificates are made available for sale or claim by sellers or third-party buyers. During this stage, certificates can be transferred between different parties, enabling the trading of carbon credits.
  2. Retired: A certificate enters the retired status once it has been sold. Retiring a certificate indicates that the associated carbon credits have been utilized to offset carbon emissions, and the certificate is no longer available for further transactions.
  3. Cancelled: Certificates may be replenished and subsequently cancelled due to reversals or premature termination from sellers. This process adjusts the certificate balances and ensures the accuracy of the overall certification system.
Accessing the Registry

The Peatland Protocol Registry is accessible through an online platform. Registered users, such as sellers and buyers, can log in to their accounts and view their certificate account balances. The platform provides a user-friendly interface for monitoring, managing, and engaging with the certificate lifecycle.

By utilizing the Peatland Protocol Registry, stakeholders can have confidence in the transparency, credibility, and accountability of the carbon certification process. It fosters trust among participants and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the Peatland Protocol in addressing environmental challenges.

Audit Protocol

  1. Objective: The objective of this audit protocol is to ensure the accurate monitoring and verification of peatland restoration projects using satellite technology, in compliance with the Peatland Protocol. This protocol aims to assess the effectiveness of peatland restoration activities and quantify the resulting carbon reduction.
  2. Scope: This audit protocol applies to peatland restoration projects that are registered under the Peatland Protocol. It covers the monitoring and verification process using satellite technology to measure the progress and impact of restoration activities.

3. Audit Criteria: The audit will assess the following criteria:

3.1. Satellite Monitoring System

  • Verify the satellite monitoring system used for peatland restoration projects.
  • Assess the accuracy, reliability, and resolution of the satellite imagery used.
  • Evaluate the consistency and frequency of satellite data acquisition.

3.2. Baseline Data

  • Verify the availability and quality of baseline data for the peatland area.
  • Assess the methodologies used to establish the baseline data.
  • Evaluate the accuracy and completeness of the baseline data.

3.3. Restoration Activities

  • Verify the implementation of peatland restoration activities according to the Peatland Protocol.
  • Assess the consistency of restoration activities with the project documentation.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of restoration techniques employed.

3.4. Carbon Reduction Calculation

  • Verify the methodologies and calculations used to estimate carbon reduction.
  • Assess the accuracy and completeness of the carbon reduction calculations.
  • Evaluate the consistency of carbon accounting across the project lifecycle.

3.5. Reporting and Documentation

  • Verify the availability and completeness of monitoring reports.
  • Assess the consistency and accuracy of data reported.
  • Evaluate the compliance of the project documentation with the Peatland Protocol.

4. Audit Process: The audit process will involve the following steps:

4.1. Pre-audit Preparation

  • Review the project documentation, including the project design document and monitoring reports.
  • Identify the key stakeholders involved in the peatland restoration project.
  • Determine the audit scope and objectives based on the project information.

4.2. On-site Audit

  • Conduct interviews with project stakeholders to gather information.
  • Review the implementation of restoration activities on-site.
  • Assess the accuracy and reliability of the satellite monitoring system.

4.3. Data Verification

  • Verify the baseline data used for the project.
  • Validate the carbon reduction calculations and methodologies employed.
  • Review the reporting and documentation of the project.

4.4. Audit Report

  • Prepare an audit report detailing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
  • Provide an assessment of the project’s compliance with the Peatland Protocol.
  • Identify any non-compliance issues and suggest corrective actions.
  1. Compliance and Corrective Actions If any non-compliance issues are identified during the audit, the project developer will be required to implement corrective actions within a specified timeframe. The auditors will conduct a follow-up review to ensure that the corrective actions have been effectively implemented.
  2. Confidentiality All information obtained during the audit process will be treated as confidential and will only be used for the purposes of the audit.

Buffer Policy

  1. Buffer Contribution Requirement: All Peatland Protocol participants are required to contribute 10% of their climate benefit to the Peatland Protocol Non-Permanence Buffer. This contribution is mandatory and serves as insurance for the program.
  2. Buffer Purpose: The Peatland Protocol Non-Permanence Buffer is designed to safeguard the integrity of carbon certificates in the face of risks related to permanence, overestimation, or potential reversals of CO2-eq reductions. It ensures that the project’s emission reductions remain reliable over time.
  3. Inclusion and Exclusion: The Buffer exclusively addresses risks associated with CO2-eq reductions that may be released back into the atmosphere. It does not cover risks related to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.
  4. Buffer Contents: The Buffer comprises verified carbon certificates, which are set aside specifically to address both structural quantification risks and non-permanence risks. These certificates are stored within the Peatland Protocol Registry and are intended for replenishment in the event of reversals during the project contracting term.
  5. Mitigating Uncertainties and Natural Disaster Risks: The buffer mechanism also serves as a means to mitigate uncertainties and risks arising from natural disasters, such as fires and flooding. It provides a layer of protection against unforeseen events that could affect the project’s carbon reductions.
  6. Buffer Allocation: The determination of the certificate share allocated to the buffer follows a consistent approach for all projects and is based on the contract type. The specific allocation and whether the buffer is utilized are determined during the verification period, which is carried out by an independent third-party verification body. The verification body ensures adherence to the buffer policy and assesses the adequacy of the buffer allocation based on project-specific risks and uncertainties.

By implementing this buffer policy, the Peatland Protocol aims to maintain the credibility and reliability of its carbon certificates, address potential risks to permanence and overestimation, and provide a safeguard against uncertainties and natural disasters.

Buyers Screening Policy

  1. Purpose: The purpose of this Buyers Screening Policy is to ensure that buyers of Peatland Protocol certificates comply with the requirements set forth by the protocol. The policy aims to verify that buyers have a clear pathway towards reduction or elimination of their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and to prevent the misuse or unauthorized resale of certificates.

2. Compliance Criteria: To be eligible to purchase certificates from the Peatland Protocol program for offsetting purposes, companies must comply with the following requirements:

2.1. Public Emissions Reporting: Buyers must publicly report their emissions data, covering all three scopes (scope 1, 2, and 3). The emissions reporting should be transparent, accurate, and in accordance with recognized reporting standards.

2.2. Commitment to Emission Abatement: Buyers must commit to abating emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. They should adopt a public and third-party verified emission reduction map or strategy that outlines their plans for reducing or eliminating emissions over time.

2.3. Annual Emission Reduction Tracking: Buyers must track their annual emission reduction progress and publicly disclose the results. This includes setting a net-zero target year, which should be clearly stated in their emission reduction map or strategy.

  1. Buyers should understand that carbon certificates are not a standalone solution but should be used in combination with comprehensive emission reduction strategies. The certificates should primarily be used to compensate for unavoidable emissions rather than as a quick fix to address emissions.
  2. Prohibition of Resale or Distribution: Buyers are strictly prohibited from reselling or distributing the Peatland Protocol certificates. The certificates are issued as proof of reduction/removal once and are not eligible for resale or further distribution. Any attempt to, cause, or complete the resale or distribution of certificates will be considered a breach of the agreement.
  3. Certificate Recall: Peatland Protocol reserves the right to recall any and all certificates sold to buyers who breach the policy by attempting to, causing, or completing the resale or distribution of certificates. The recall may result in the invalidation and revocation of the certificates in question.
  4. Compliance Verification: Peatland Protocol reserves the right to conduct compliance verifications to ensure that buyers adhere to the Buyers Screening Policy. This may include requesting documentation, conducting audits, or taking any other necessary steps to confirm compliance.
  5. Policy Updates: Peatland Protocol may update this Buyers Screening Policy as necessary to align with evolving industry standards, best practices, or regulatory requirements. Buyers will be notified of any policy changes and expected to comply with the updated requirements.

By purchasing Peatland Protocol certificates, buyers acknowledge their understanding and agreement to comply with the requirements outlined in this Buyers Screening Policy.


  1. Bradley et al.   2021
  2. Marshall et al. 2022
  3. Mitchell et al.  2022


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