This book would be helpful to these audiences:

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  • National agricultural research centers (NARS). NARS researchers can use these guidelines to establish protocols for greenhouse gas measurement from agriculture within their institution and ensure comparability with other research partners.
  • Developers of national and subnational mitigation plans that include agriculture. Accurate information is required both in the planning phase, to establish baselines and compare potential interventions, and in the implementation phase, to monitor, report, and verify (MRV) emissions reductions attributable to the strategy or policy. Field measurements are often necessary to generate national emission factors or calibrate models that can then be used in MRV systems. These guidelines should be used to ensure that field measurements methods are cost-effective, comparable across sites, and of sufficient accuracy.
  • Agricultural commodity companies and agricultural development projects. These guidelines complement greenhouse gas accounting methodologies such as the Product Category Rules (PCRs) and carbon credit standards as well as agricultural greenhouse gas calculators. These methodologies and tools often require, or are improved by, user-input data corresponding to the project area, such as soil C stocks or emission factors for fertilizer application. The SAMPLES guidelines provide methods—not usually covered in product and project standards—for the field measurements to generate this data
  • Students and instructors. Post-graduate students, advisors, and university instructors can use these guidelines as a manual in selecting research methods.

Click a link below to start reading online or download a specific chapter. Easily link to references and additional resources.

Designing a measurement program

Data acquisition

Identifying mitigation options


In this book, the author team describe concepts and methods for measurement of greenhouse gas emissions and assessment of mitigation options in smallholder agri- cultural systems, developed as part of the SAMPLES project. The SAMPLES (Standard Assessment of Agricultural Mitigation Potential and Livelihoods) system adapts existing internationally accepted methodologies to allow a range of stake- holders to assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different agricultural activ- ities, to identify how these emissions might be reduced (i.e., mitigation), and to provide data through an online dataset that can be used to aid in these efforts.

The book is divided into three sections: (1) designing a measurement program to allow users to identify what measurements are needed and how to go about taking the measurements, (2) data acquisition, describing how to deal with complex issues such as land use change, and (3) identifying mitigation options, which deals with scaling issues, how to use models, and how to assess trade-offs. Within each section is a series of chapters, written by leading experts in the field, providing clear guide- lines on how to deal with each of the issues raised.

The work was begun at an international workshop in 2012, and the authors have since produced this synthesis. Through this work, the authors provide a comprehen- sive and transparent system to allow stakeholders to calculate and reduce agricultural GHG emissions, and assess other impacts. Since it builds on established and interna- tionally accepted methodologies it is robust, yet the authors have managed to break down the complex and potentially overwhelming concepts and methods into bite- sized chunks. Difficult subjects such as inaccuracy and uncertainty are not avoided, yet the authors manage to make these topics accessible and the process manageable.

Potential users include, but are not limited to, national agricultural research cen- ters, developers of national and subnational mitigation plans that include agriculture, agricultural commodity companies and agricultural development projects, and stu- dents and instructors. Anyone with an interest in agriculture, greenhouse gas emis- sions, and how to minimize these emissions will find the book immensely useful.

Pete Smith