TNC Carbon Benefit Calculator

The TNC Carbon Benefit Calculator is a tool developed by The Nature Conservancy that estimates the volume of avoided carbon emissions from avoided conversion of native vegetation in any municipality in the Cerrado biome. It was created as part of the Environmental Framework to support lenders and investors in determining the positive environmental impact of deploying financial mechanisms that support deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) expansion of soy production.

The Nature Conservancy created a spatially explicit model to estimate where soy expansion will occur in the Cerrado through 2030, maintaining business-as-usual trends. Soy expansion will occur either over native vegetation or on already cleared areas, depending on multiple factors that affect each municipality in the Cerrado differently. Financial mechanisms applying the Environmental Framework to condition investments in soy expansion to zero conversion production will effectively impact the expected business-as-usual conversion pattern that the model presents for any given municipality in the Cerrado. Finance will serve as a catalyst for soy to expand exclusively on already cleared areas in that municipality, instead of the model`s business-as-usual ratio of expansion partly on native vegetation, partly over cleared areas.

For example, according to TNC´s soy expansion model, by 2030, soy cropland area in the city of Luís Eduardo Magalhães, in Bahia, is expected to expand by 94,143 has, of which 66% will occur over native vegetation and 34% will occur over pastureland. If a producer accesses DCF-conditioned financing and expands soy cropland area exclusively over acquired pastureland, that producer is directly altering the expected expansion pattern of that specific municipality. In this example, if the producer acquires 1,000 hectares of pastureland to transition to soy production, the Calculator would assume that the producer is avoiding conversion of 34% or 340 hectares of native vegetation. In Luís Eduardo Magalhães, one hectare of native vegetation stores an average of 46 tons of CO2 so, in this scenario, avoided emissions benefit attributed to the DCF finance mechanism is estimated at 55,187 tons of CO2.

The formula used in the calculation is:

Avoided Emissions = ACS (CO2) * (Soy-Exp) * (Conv-%)

ACS – Average Carbon Stock (CO2): The average tons of carbon prestored in a hectare of native vegetation suitable for soy in each municipality. This is the amount of CO2 that would be released into the atmosphere if one hectare of native vegetation was cleared.

Area of pastureland transitioned to soy (Soy-Exp): The amount of pastureland that has been or will be transitioned to soy production, where rental or acquisition was financed by a financial mechanism applying the Environmental Framework. This input should be provided by the user.

Conversion pattern (Conv-%): The conversion rate over native vegetation according to TNC’s 2030 soy expansion model

Disclaimer - Uses and Limitations:

- The objective of this calculator is to provide a credible estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide that would be released into the atmosphere if native vegetation is cleared for soy production in a municipality in the Cerrado. Estimates should always be accompanied by the qualifying methodology described in this page.

- The calculator was developed using the best available data of above-ground vegetal biomass developed by Baccini et al. (2012) and refined following IPCC guidelines for roots, adding 20% additional carbon stock. Regenerated areas after 2012 are not considered in this study.

- Municipalities located in transition areas with other biomes may present some distortion given that the calculator exclusively estimates the Cerrado part of the ecotone municipality.

- To further information please contact


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