Primary - Mitigating climate change - through sequestration/reduced carbon footprints. 2003 - Woodland Carbon Code

A scheme designed to encourage businesses to seek ways of reducing their carbon footprint

It is increasingly well understood that trees and forests can mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration. Thus woodland creation provides an attractive option for companies, organisations and individuals wishing to reduce their carbon footprint while also delivering a range of environmental and social benefits.

The Woodland Carbon Code aims to support the move to a low-carbon economy by encouraging investment in the establishment of woodlands in the UK for climate change mitigation. It sets out robust requirements for voluntary carbon sequestration projects that incorporate core principles of good carbon management as part of modern sustainable forest management.

Specific objectives of the Code include:

  • ensuring high standards of sustainable forest management in line with the UK Forestry Standard and Climate Change Guidelines for forestry);
  • setting out requirements of good practice in terms of both carbon (emissions reduction) and sustainable forest management;
  • providing access to forest carbon measurement protocols that enable consistent and rigorous measurement of carbon uptake in woodlands and;
  • establishing a system of independent quality assurance through the introduction of procedures for registering, validating and verifying woodland carbon projects.

The Code sets out design and management requirements for voluntary UK based projects that aim to sequester carbon through woodland creation and to generate net emission reductions. Woodland carbon projects contribute to just one of a hierarchy of actions that can help to combat the effects of climate change. However, before considering mitigation measures individuals, businesses and other organisations need to understand their carbon footprint; take steps to prevent avoidable emissions and reduce any remaining emissions.

Net emission reductions resulting from conformant projects will contribute directly to the UK’s national targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG’s). The Code does not provide a route to conformance with regulatory carbon ‘offsetting’ schemes (e.g. the Carbon Reduction Scheme or EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS)); or the generation of internationally tradable carbon credits linked to either the compliance or voluntary markets.
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