This book is designed to provide needed guidance on measurement methods to:

National agricultural research centers (NARS).

Compilers of national GHG inventories.

Developers of national and subnational mitigation plans that include agriculture.

Agricultural commodity companies and agricultural development projects.

Students and instructors.

The entire book is available for free download at Springer. Or click a chapter link below to start reading online or download a specific chapter. Easily link to references and additional resources from these pages.

Designing a measurement program


Motivation for these guidelines

Utilization of these guidelines

Conceptual framework of the guidelines

Targeting measurements


Initial steps



Combining top-down and bottom-up: the basis for scaling up


Data acquisition

Land use and land cover change


Determining change in LULC

Developing a baseline

Calculating carbon stock changes

Assessing accuracy and calculating uncertainty

Challenges, limitations and emerging technologies

Soil emissions (See also this video summary)


What technique is most suitable for measuring biosphere-atmosphere exchange processes of GHG’s?

Measurement of GHG fluxes in rice paddies

Analytical instruments used for chamber measurements


Enteric methane emissions from livestock


Indirect estimation

Direct measurement

Short-term measurement

Emerging and future technologies

Tree biomass carbon

Why quantify carbon in trees in agricultural landscapes?

Accuracy, scale and cost

Quantification of five carbon pools of representative plots

Additional sources of information

Soil carbon (See also this overview video in English or French)


Quantification of soil carbon stocks

Quantification of soil carbon stock changes

Yield estimation


Crop productivity estimation

Critical analysis and comparison of yield estimation methods with regards to cost, scale and accuracy


Identifying mitigation options

Scaling point measurements to farms and landscapes

Why estimate GHG impacts at whole-farm and landscape level?

Scaling methods

Using empirical and process-based models with disaggregated data


Trade-off analysis


The nature of trade-off analysis

Research approaches and tools

A tiered approach


In this book, the author team describe concepts and methods for measurement of greenhouse gas emissions and assessment of mitigation options in smallholder agricultural 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 stakeholders to assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different agricultural activities, 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 guidelines 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 comprehensive and transparent system to allow stakeholders to calculate and reduce agricultural GHG emissions and assess other impacts. Since it builds on established and internationally 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 centers, developers of national and subnational mitigation plans that include agriculture, agricultural commodity companies and agricultural development projects, and students and instructors. Anyone with an interest in agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions, and how to minimize these emissions will find the book immensely useful.

Pete Smith