Land Use & Forestry

Objective:

Rural land use presents both a risk and opportunity to Scotland to meet its ambitious climate change aspirations. Traditional and new land uses (forestry apart) contribute to carbon emissions, but also provide significant opportunities for renewable energy, carbon reduction and avoidance, as well as offset capability.

Effective management of land in Scotland is essential in mitigating climate change and adapting to the opportunities and challenges posed by climate change. The subgroup has an opportunity to ensure that the Scotland’s unique carbon stores are taken advantage of fully, by maintaining and enhancing soils, vegetation and forests as well as exploring the opportunities for carbon reduction in agriculture, adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient built infrastructure.

Projects being undertaken by the Land Use & Forestry Subgroup in 2013:

  • Peatlands – support the work currently underway in Scotland on peatlands by promoting the significant benefits of peatland restoration and conservation for climate change, biodiversity and water.  
  • Emission Reduction in Farms – To help raise awareness of the potential to save money whilst also reducing emissions, while supporting the ‘Farming for a Better Climate’ outreach programme, the Subgroup is exploring the potential to create a high-profile and valuable prize for emissions reductions in farming.
  • Use of Scottish timber in the construction and refurbishment of buildings – the Subgroup will support the work already underway to go beyond simply promoting the benefits of timber as a carbon positive construction material.  The potential role of planning, building standards and building design will be considered, as must issues of maximising the use of home-grown timber, where the carbon can be credited by the Scottish Government, and ensuring robust systems for measuring carbon.

A Global Opportunity for Peatlands

Following on the joint commitment from the four UK Environment Ministers to’ take action on peatlands’, the Scottish Government is promising £15 million over the next two financial years for peatland restoration. The private sector is also being asked to play their part in helping to fund important work to support peatland ecosystems. The natural capital value of peatlands encompasses wildlife, climate change and water, bringing huge benefits to society. An innovative new scheme to support business funding of peatland management, the ‘Peatland Code’ has been launched as a pilot by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme. The Code will provide high environmental standards and clarity on the benefits particularly for carbon savings. Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group is raising awareness among the business and land managing community to bring together good peatland management projects and potential sponsors under the Peatland Code.

Peatland Conservation: a Global Priority and a UK Opportunity, a new briefing on this important opportunity to help deliver one of the significant environmental outcomes of our times, has been produced by the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and Scotland’s Moorland Forum for the 2020 Climate Group Land Use and Forestry Subgroup.

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