The RSPB has identified how much carbon is being stored in areas important for wildlife
Much of these areas is in poor condition and unprotected, however restoration could lead not only to reduced emissions but actually to higher levels of sequestration
Restoring these areas to good condition could counterbalance nearly a third of the UKs agricultural emissions every year
Restoring the UK’s important habitats for nature could help lock away 14 million tonnes of CO2e per year, nearly a third our annual agricultural emissions, according to a new study led by RSPB scientists.
The UK has recently committed to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the 2008 Climate Change Act. In order to reach this target, all sectors must commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as removing gases from the atmosphere.
In a paper published today in the journal Biological Conservation, experts calculated the contribution made to achieving this net zero target by analysing how much carbon was already stored in areas important for conservation, and how much more could be sequestered each year if some of those areas were restored.
Dr Rob Field, lead author of the paper said: "Currently our nature-rich lands are already doing an excellent job; they hold a massive store of around 0.5 Gigatonnes of carbon, around 30% of our land-based store on just 20% of its area, as well as capturing an additional 8.7 million tonnes CO2e every year.