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Quality management system for emission inventories

Improvement and operationalisation of quality assurance and uncertainty analysis for the emission reporting for the sector Agriculture and LULUCF (AFOLU)

Emission inventories adhere to mandatory international rules for quality control and quality assurance. The project developed the quality management system for the sectors agriculture, forestry and land use in the German emission inventory.

Background and Objective

Quality control guarantees that the quality goals (transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy) are reached so that

  • data are robust, correct and complete;
  • errors and incompleteness are identified and reported;
  • the process of inventory calculation is transparent and documented and archived in traceable way;
  • all activities for quality control are recorded.

Quality assurance means the check and evaluation of emission inventories by third parties. The goal of quality assurance is

  • adherence to the quality goals;
  • up-to-dateness of models and data for emission inventory calculation;
  • representativeness of model and data input for Germany, and  
  • to guarantee and improve the effectiveness of quality control in the national emission inventory.

The project result was a document containing the implementation guidelines for the quality management system for the sectors agriculture, forestry and land use in the German emission inventory, for which the Thünen Institute is responsible.

Target Group

  • Climate policy
  • Persons interested in the methodology of emission inventories


The mandatory international and national guidelines for quality control and quality assurance were described for the specific contributions by the Thünen Institute and adapted to the Thünen-specific procedures.

The work was based on

  1. the “Concept for preparation of emissions and carbon inventories in agriculture and forestry by the Thünen Institute” by the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture from 2012, which regulates the general responsibilities for the preparation of emission inventories for agriculture and forestry between the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, the Thünen Institute and the Federal Environment Agency.
  2. the handbook “Quality System Emissions” of the Federal Environment Agency.


The project resulted in a document about the guidelines for inventory preparation and the quality management at the Thünen Institute, which can be updated if applicable:

TI – Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute 2012: Guidelines for the preparation of emission and carbon inventories and their quality management for the sectors 4 and 5 (agriculture and forestry). Annex to the concept for emission and carbon inventories under the auspices of the BMELV from 01/03/2012. Version 1.01 from 31/08/2012 (In German).


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    Laggner A, Laggner B, Gensior A, Riedel T, Freibauer A (2015) Flächennutzungsanalysen als Grundlage der Klimaberichterstattung. IÖR Schr 67:223-231

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