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Sector Snapshot: ARR

  • BeZero Carbon


Learn about our ratings and research on Afforestation, Reforestation & Restoration projects, and how you can use our platform to dig deeper into the sub-sector.

What are Afforestation, Reforestation & Restoration (ARR) projects?

  • ARR projects fall under three main activity types: 

    • Afforestation, which refers to the planting of trees on land that has not been forested for a long time; 

    • Reforestation, which aims to reverse recent deforestation; and 

    • Restoration, which helps accelerate the recovery of degraded ecosystems

  • ARR projects issue carbon removal credits, and are the original removals projects in the forestry sector.

Key figures

  • The ARR sub-sector represents approximately 4% of the Voluntary Carbon Market by credits outstanding.

  • There are currently more than 200 ARR projects listed on the major registries (VCS, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve and American Carbon Registry)

  • ARR projects can be found in over 45 countries around the world, with most located in the Global South.

Global mix - 214 projects in 46 countries which represents around 4% of outstanding VCM credits

ARR projects rated by BeZero available on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform, as of May 2023.

  • Over the six months to end of March 2023, growth in the ARR sub-sector more than quadrupled, with an increase in credit issuance of 320%

  • Led by China (14m credits or 24% of the total) and followed by Uruguay (12m and 20%) and USA (6m and 11%), it was the fastest growing sub-sector amongst nature based solutions over this six month period

How we rate ARR projects

  • You can find BeZero Carbon Ratings for more than 40 ARR projects in 19 countries on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform, as of May 2023

  • We find most have a moderate likelihood of reaching their carbon removal promises, with 17 having a BeZero Carbon Rating of BBB

  • Carbon quality within the ARR subsector is widely spread however, with project ratings ranging from AA (Very high likelihood) to C (Very low likelihood).

ARR projects rated higher on average - 40 projects in 19 countries representing around 4% of rated credits

Distribution of BeZero Carbon Ratings for 40 ARR projects compared to the wider universe of BeZero rated projects, as of May 2023.

  • We note a trend of different risk profiles between two major ARR project types - community-based projects and commercial plantations.

  • We generally find commercial ARR projects to have greater associated overall risk, primarily due to lower additionality related to common practice. 

  • Potential sources of non-permanence risk differ in their importance between these two project types, with additional risks that are specific to each project type (read our deep-dive to learn more).

  • Learn more about our sector-specific approach to rating these projects in our ARR methodology.

Dig deeper on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform

  • See how differences in ARR project types impact our ratings, including why community-based projects tend to rate higher than commercial ones 

Geospatial map for a community-based ARR project in Kenya (LHS) and a commercial ARR project in Uruguay (RHS), available on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform. Project areas displayed in white.

  • Explore interactive charts supporting our analysis of carbon risk in the ARR sub-sector

Fire history in the project area. Burned area (bars) and active fire detection (lines) before and after the project start date. Burned area captures the spatial extent of burning, while active fire detections reflect the count of hot pixels at satellite overpass. Data from NASA. Available on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform.

  • Discover project boundaries and use 3D view to visualise how topography and elevation affect project design and performance

3D map of a community-based ARR project near Mount Kenya. Carbon stocks, land use and human pressures all vary with terrain complexity and elevation. Through our baseline analysis and carbon stock assessments, these factors influence over-crediting risk. Available on BeZero Carbon Markets platform.

Further exclusive insights on ARR projects and the wider Nature Based Solutions sector group are available for platform users. If you’d like to learn more, our team will be happy to set up a demo.