FLINT Pilot Projects


Chile’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF), in collaboration with the Canadian Forest Service and the Mullion Group, is running a pilot project using a FLINT-based system in the Los Rios Region in southern Chile, to calculate forest carbon emissions and removals caused by  REDD+ activities. CONAF is interested in testing how available spatially explicit data can be integrated in a transparent and consistent manner.

The pilot is a good example of an agile implementation approach: i.e. starting with a pilot for a sub-national region and using available data, understanding and capacity are built. Then the area, reported periods and included REDD+ activities are increased progressively in stages. 

The GCBM (Canadian Carbon Budget Model science modules on top of the FLINT platform) has been used with specific adjustments for the Chilean context, including e.g. volume to biomass parameters, disturbance matrices and data layer with temperatures. 

The key input was the preparation of time series land-use maps based on the national cadastre maps of 4 years between 1997 and 2017. These maps were combined with the national forest inventory to obtain specific Chilean parameters and to model the emissions and removals from deforestation, degradation, forest enhancement and conservation. 

Most of the initial results are very similar to the ones presented in Chile’s FREL (for details please review the papers linked below.) The calibration of the local parameters can be further improved in future implementation sprints. 

The spatially explicit nature of the results can potentially inform national policy-making and be used to monitor actions to address the risks of reversals and to reduce displacement of emissions as referred to in the Cancun safeguards (UNFCCC, 2010). 

Cabezas, J.; Olguín, M.; Kurz, W.A.; Fellows, M.; de Ligt, R.; Montaner, D. 2020. Modelling forest carbon dynamics for REDD+ using the Generic Carbon Budget Model (GCBM). Pilot Project: Los Rios Region – Chile. Progress to date. Technical Document. 31p. 

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11330.32968

Implementation information can be found on the moja global GitHub  


The Research Department of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, with the support of the Australian Government and the Mullion Group, has tested the use of FLINT to enhance the Indonesian National Carbon Accounting System (INCAS).

INCAS is an advanced system that generates GHG estimates in a transparent, accurate, complete, consistent and comparable (TACCC) manner. There are well established methods for data collation, data analysis, quality control, quality assurance, modelling and reporting. INCAS is well documented in the linked papers below. Moreover, INCAS has capabilities to report at various scales and it can nest smaller reports into the National accounts.

The added value of a FLINT based system would be two-fold: First, a FLINT-based system can incorporate new modules without re-designing the core software. This allows for the introduction of full AFOLU accounting as well as specific modules for niche forest or agriculture types, e.g. peatlands (which are currently calculated outside the INCAS). Second, the FLINT would be fully spatially explicit so it could be used to inform policy at the local and national level, e.g. jurisdictional approaches; policy impacts; etc.

FLINT can use the existing land-cover maps, modules, and calibrations. FLINT is designed to be flexible precisely to deal with situations where users have already invested in existing data and tools and do not want to re-do already completed work

Krisnawati, H., Adinugroho, W.C., Imanuddin, R. and Hutabarat, S. 2015. Estimation of Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forest and Peat Lands in Central Kalimantan. Research and Development Center for Conservation and Rehabilitation, Forestry Research and Development Agency, Bogor, Indonesia. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4925.6489

Krisnawati, H., Imanuddin, R., Adinugroho, W.C. and Hutabarat, S. 2015. Standard Methods for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forests and Peatlands in Indonesia. Research, Development and Innovation Agency of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Bogor, Indonesia. ISBN: 978-979-8452-65-9

There are Additional Publications on the INCAS work available.


The FLINT was developed in Kenya as part of the program called System for Land-based Emissions Estimation in Kenya (SLEEK). SLEEK was a Government wide program. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources collaborated with all mandated Government agencies as well as parastatals and academics, with support from the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Government of Australia.

FLINT was designed to meet SLEEK’s objective: enable the measurement, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector in Kenya. This supports land use planning, natural resource management (including efforts to limit deforestation), and efforts to meet Kenya’s requirements for emissions reduction under the UNFCCC. 

The large investment in a National system was only viable if the system was flexible enough to be applied in other countries. It was essential that FLINT could be scaled to very large countries but remain accurate enough to measure project-level interventions. Moreover, the possibility to nest projects into wider accounts was essential. Since many countries had already made large investments in data collection, the system had to be able to adjust to the available data (not the other way around.) The system had to be simple enough to operate after a minimum amount of training and had to make use of advanced computer technology to ensure fast processing. But most of all, the system had to be rigorously based on science and meet international standards. 

Kenya produced land cover maps for 20 years, stratified in key forest types. For each forest type, a growth model was developed. Carbon in crops was modeled using WOFOST at daily timesteps. Data was collected to calibrate the models and other data was collected: e.g. weather data was digitised and interpolated.  The results were generated spatially explicitly for the whole country for a 20-year period. 

The system was improved in several cycles, including the development of a tool that can generate results in internationally agreed reporting formats and the development of an enteric fermentation model. 


The Generic Carbon Budget Model (GCBM), a spatially-explicit forest ecosystem carbon accounting tool developed by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) at Natural Resources Canada, that functions on the FLINT platform,  has been applied in various projects and at various scales by National and Provincial governments. Growing interest in applications of the model exists within the global forest community.

The GCBM implements the lessons learned from over 30 years of carbon modeling by CFS. It is a spatial-explicit implementation of their widely-used Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3). The science and modeling processes behind each are very similar. It is an operational model that uses data required for forest management planning supplemented with ecological parameters. The CBM-CFS3 is currently used to generate Canada’s annual GHG submissions to the UNFCCC. The forest emissions and removals reported by Canada were replicated using the FLINT-based GCBM and the results were very similar.

The team at CFS has contributed considerably to the development of the FLINT. They have also delivered GCBM-related training and they provide the GCBM-related science models that can run on the FLINT platform including the Canadian model for peatlands. [link to paper]

The GCBM has been applied in a range of projects that have resulted in peer-reviewed papers, including forest sector-based climate change mitigation analyses for British Columbia [link to paper] and cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on the forest carbon balance in the oil sands region of Alberta [link to paper]. 

Bona, K.A.; Shaw, C.; Thompson, D.K.; Hararuk, O.; Webster, K.; Zhang, G.; Voicu, M.; Kurz, W.A. 2020. The Canadian model for peatlands (CaMP): A peatland carbon model for national greenhouse gas reporting. Ecological Modelling, 31, 109164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109164Get

Shaw, C.H.; Rodrigue, S.; Voicu, M.F.; Latifovic, R.; Pouliot, D.; Hayne, S.; Fellows, M.; Kurz, W.A. 2020. Cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on the forest carbon balance in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada; a pilot study (1985–2012). Carbon Balance and Management, 16, 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13021-020-00164-1

Smyth, C. E.; Xu, Z.; Lemprière, T.C.; Kurz, W. A. 2020. Climate change mitigation in British Columbia’s forest sector: GHG reductions, costs, and environmental impacts. Carbon Balance Manage 15, 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13021-020-00155-2

GCBM and the FLINT platform build on the science developed for the CBM-CFS3. Additional research publications can be found on the website of the Canadian Forest Service.

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