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Accounting rules for greenhouse gases emitted or absorbed by forests and agriculture

Accounting rules for greenhouse gases emitted or absorbed by forests and agriculture



Decision No 529/2013/EU — accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from land use, land-use change and forestry


  • It is the first step towards incorporating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)* into European Union (EU) GHG emission reduction commitments.
  • It obliges EU countries to prepare and maintain accounts of GHGs emitted or absorbed by forests, cropland and grazing land in an accurate, complete, consistent, comparable and transparent manner in line with the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
  • Making GHG accounting and reporting more complete will enhance the EU’s environmental integrity (i.e. ensure the resilience, diversity, and purity of its ecosystems).


  • In the current accounting period (2013–2020), there will be mandatory reporting and accounting by EU countries for GHG emissions/removals from:
    • afforestation (planting new forests);
    • deforestation (the destruction of forests);
    • reforestation (restocking existing forests); and
    • forest management.
  • EU countries must prepare for the accurate accounting of GHG emissions/removals from cropland and grazing land, which will start in 2021.
  • EU countries are also encouraged to report on how revegetation (the growth of vegetation on land other than forest) and the drainage or rewetting of wetlands affects GHG emissions/removals.

Decision No 529/2013/EU was amended by Decision (EU) 2016/374, which adds values for Croatia to the lists of reference levels for forest management, minimum values for the definition of forest and base year of emissions.


It has applied from 8 July 2013.


  • Forests and agricultural land cover over 75 % of the EU. Soils, plants, trees and the organic materials derived from them (biomass), which fill this vast area, have the ability to capture and store large stocks of carbon.
  • Activities such as deforestation, ploughing and draining can emit GHGs into the atmosphere by disrupting the stocks of carbon in forests, soil and wetlands.
  • Therefore, it is important to include this sector in the EU’s emission reduction measurements.

For more information, see:


LUCUCF (land-use, land-use change and forestry): a term that covers GHG emissions into the atmosphere and carbon removal from the atmosphere resulting from the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass and wood.


Decision No 529/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities relating to land use, land-use change and forestry and on information concerning actions relating to those activities (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, pp. 80–97)

Successive amendments to Decision No 529/2013/EU have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 30.08.2016