Approved Approaches

The Plan Vivo Standard required the use of approved approaches for estimating emissions and removals from the baseline scenario, and project intervention, and for emissions from leakage.

If a suitable approved approach is not available, projects can develop or adopt their own approaches for estimating emissions and removals, and submit them to the Plan Vivo Foundation for approval. This can be done in the relevant sections of the PDD or separately.

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Plan Vivo projects are encouraged to make use of simple, low cost approaches where possible, although other methodologies can be considered.

Approved approaches should include clear applicability criteria, describing the conditions under which the approach can be used. When using an approved approach to estimate emissions and removals, care should be taken to ensure that the project area, baseline scenario and project intervention meet all of the identified applicability criteria.

The following approaches and tools have been approved for use by Plan Vivo projects that meet the specified applicability requirements.


Project types

Geographical area

Carbon pool/emission source


Additionality assessment All Global N/A Plan Vivo Approved Approach Additionality
Estimation of emissions and removals (Baseline scenario; Project intervention) Afforestation; Reforestation; Agroforestry; Agricultural land management Sub-Saharan Africa Above ground woody biomass; Below-ground woody biomass; Soil organic carbon; Biomass burning; Fertilizer application SHAMBA Small-Holder Agriculture Monitoring and Baseline Assessment methodology
Estimation of emissions and removals (Baseline scenario) Prevention of deforestation Tropical/sub-tropical evergreen or semi-evergreen forests Above-ground woody biomass Plan Vivo Approved Approach Estimating Reference Emission Levels
Estimation of emissions and removals (Baseline scenario; Project intervention; Leakage) REDD in community managed forests Global Above-ground woody biomass; Below-ground woody biomass Estimation of Climate benefits from REDD in community-managed forests
Assessing risk and quantifying non-permanence buffer allocation All Global N/A Assessing Risk and Setting the Risk Buffer

A full list of approved approaches and a template that should be used when submitting new approaches, within the Plan Vivo Guidance and Resources PDF.

Download the full Plan Vivo Guidance and Resources PDF here.