Growing vegetation absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in biomass. As such, natural habitats provide a highly efficient Carbon Capture and Storage technology, one landowners could potentially derive income from if we can establish a scheme that pays them for the carbon sequestration benefits they deliver. Internationally, efforts have been underway for some time to establish a programme to support efforts to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation programme (known as REDD+).
The focus of efforts so far has rightly been on helping tropical countries to tackle forest loss and degradation. And updated account of these efforts has just been published by Forest Trends:
Here in the UK, Natural Areas – large natural landscapes subject to limited intervention – could deliver significant atmospheric carbon absorption benefits. We (the taxpayer, businesses, individuals) could set up a system to pay landowners within Natural Areas to allow natural habitats to develop and absorb and lock carbon away. Forest Enterprise and others have already done work on such an approach. Hopefully, a coherent incentive scheme will emerge in the UK soon, and this could be a key mechanism for financing Natural Areas.