While society must take every effort to reduce its CO2 emissions, tree planting can also play a role by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The potential of woodlands to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere while providing a host of other benefits for society and biodiversity is becoming increasingly recognised, and many individuals and businesses wish to contribute to tree planting to help society soak up the carbon it emits. But before investing in such projects people want to know that schemes will actually deliver the carbon savings that they claim.
The Woodland Carbon Code will provide that reassurance. The voluntary code will encourage a consistent approach to woodland carbon projects, and offer clarity and transparency to customers about the carbon savings that their contributions may realistically achieve.
Compliance with the code means that woodland carbon projects:
- are responsibly and sustainably managed to national standards;
- can provide reliable estimates of the amount of carbon that will be sequestered or locked up as a result of the tree planting;
- must be publicly registered and independently verified;
- meet transparent criteria and standards to ensure that real carbon benefits are delivered.
To meet the requirements of the code, projects must:
- register with the Forestry Commission, stating the exact location and long-term objectives of their project;
- meet national forestry standards to ensure they are sustainably and responsibly managed;
- have a long-term management plan;
- use standard methods for estimating the carbon that will be sequestered;
- demonstrate that the project delivers additional carbon benefits than would otherwise have been the case.
Projects that meet all these requirements can carry the Woodland Carbon Code label of approval.
The Code works for everyone involved:
- Customers have reassurance that they have invested in a responsible scheme and can see the benefits that will be provided.
- Projects have recognised procedures and standards to work to, and can use their verified status as an attractive selling point for potential customers.
- Woodland managers have clearly set out standards of forest management to follow.
What’s happening now?
Applications are invited for woodland creation projects wishing to register and become certified as meeting the standards of the code.
To enable existing woodland carbon projects to be certified, we will be accepting applications for woodlands that have been planted since 1 January 2000, until 31 July 2013. After that time, projects will need to be registered within two years of the date tree planting starts.