Investors sought for woodland, peatland projects

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is calling for corporate investors to help it make progress with woodland creation and peatland restoration projects on land that it manages – and capture one million tonnes of CO2.

“This pipeline of projects can only be fully developed through funding from partners, that in return will receive independently verified Woodland Carbon Units that may be used to offset their future unavoidable emissions from UK operations,” said FLS.

FLS chief executive Simon Hodgson said: “We’ve spent time looking closely at the land we manage to understand where – if money was no object – we could go further to enhance habitats and lock up more carbon.

“We’ve identified more than 80 carbon projects spanning over 5,000 hectares across Scotland that we do not have the resources to develop.

“These projects vary hugely in scale, complexity and location – from small corridors of native woodlands planted along remote rivers, to the total transformation of former derelict coal-fields into multi-use woodlands and greenspace in the central belt.

“They all have the capacity to deliver benefits to local communities, habitats and biodiversity and the economy.

“But they also have the capacity to contribute to the delivery of global benefits through the capture of one million tonnes of carbon emissions.

“We are now looking for new partners to work with us and fund some of these exciting projects.

“Offering high-integrity, well-functioning and high quality carbon projects on national land, is an attractive option for businesses that are committed to achieving Net Zero.”

FLS said government and philanthropic sources provide substantial funding for projects that address biodiversity loss and mitigate climate change – but there is an estimated funding gap of at least £20 billion in Scotland.

It said high-integrity natural capital markets can help channel investment from the private sector to help fill this gap, for example through the voluntary carbon market underpinned by the Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code.

“All FLS carbon projects will be independently verified to the UK Woodland Carbon Code or Peatland Code, which will ensure that all carbon units – also known as carbon credits or offsets – are real, measureable, permanent, additional and unique,” said FLS.

“Partners looking to work with FLS will need to demonstrate that they have taken steps to measure their carbon footprint, prevent any avoidable emissions and reduce their remaining emissions as far as possible.

“They should also have targets and transition plans in line both with Paris Agreement and Scottish Government 2045 Net Zero targets.”