Researches Propose Carbon Credit Scheme To Support Restoration Of UK Saltmarshes

Researches Propose Carbon Credit Scheme To Support Restoration Of UK Saltmarshes - Carbon Herald
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Experts from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) advocate for the restoration of the island nation’s saltmarshes through the implementation of a carbon credit scheme to secure private investment alongside public funding, to be piloted by 2025.

Over the years, England has lost 85% of its saltmarsh due to various human activities, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) and loss of vital habitats.

A study led by the UKCEH proposes a new carbon credit scheme, allowing companies to invest in saltmarsh restoration to offset their emissions voluntarily, the center said in a statement last week.

The scheme would establish a Saltmarsh Carbon Code, akin to existing codes for peatlands and woodlands, ensuring a scientifically robust standard for carbon trading.

This would validate the climate benefits of restoration projects, encouraging private investment in addition to public funding.

Currently, saltmarsh restoration in the UK is limited, mainly focused on compensatory habitats for development-related damage.

However, there’s growing corporate interest in carbon credits, potentially accelerating restoration efforts.

With only 45,000 hectares (111,000 acres) of natural saltmarsh remaining, these ecosystems play a crucial role in carbon sequestration, with restoration promising even greater carbon storage capacity.

Relevant: Sylvera Wins UK Grant To Research Peatlands CO2 Removal

Annette Burden, a wetland scientist at UKCEH who led the study, highlighted the importance of saltmarsh restoration in addressing climate and biodiversity crises.

“The introduction of a Saltmarsh Code would pave the way for private investment to support projects that have some public financing but would not otherwise happen,” she said.

The feasibility study involved a variety of partners like Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the University of St Andrews, Bangor University, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the National Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Finance Earth and Jacobs.

It examined past restoration projects like the RSPB Old Hall Marshes and WWT Steart Marshes, demonstrating the potential for private investment to make such projects financially viable.

As part of ongoing efforts, a pilot Saltmarsh Code is being developed for further testing, aiming for implementation by 2025.

To support these initiatives, UKCEH is conducting research, producing informative resources, and establishing a network of GHG monitoring stations on saltmarshes across the UK coast.

Read more: EU Council And Parliament Reach Agreement On The Carbon Removal Certification Framework

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