New method developed to quantify the carbon storage potential of tree planting in Scotland.

James Hutton Institute
August 13, 2020

Area-based targets for tree planting are an important part of policy discussions relating to climate change mitigation targets.

These targets expect that planting more trees will store more carbon in soils and vegetation and reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. However, there is considerable uncertainty over the eventual emission reductions outcomes because the amount of carbon stored depends on a number of variables including climate, soil characteristics and the type of forest management. This project took these variables into account and developed a new spatial method to quantify the range of possible emissions outcomes for area-based afforestation targets.

This work shows why it is important to continue with the existing presumption against planting trees in deep peat areas, and that additional incentives or constraints may be needed to achieve the overall rates of emission mitigation required by policy.

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