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Credit: John MacPherson

An award winning Highland croft is at the forefront of the UK effort to combat the global climate emergency.

The 60ha Lynbreck Croft, which is managed by Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer, picked up the Young People, Farm Woodland award in the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards at this year’s Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Having established an innovative, high-nature value crofting enterprise, where trees are a vital part of the livestock system – they won the Scottish Crofting Federation’s ‘Best Crofting Newcomer’ award in 2018 – the pair have planted an 11 hectare woodland, set aside 9ha to natural regeneration, additional small ‘agroforestry’ copses in a grazed pasture, as well as over 1 km of hedging.

All of which is capturing carbon from the atmosphere and helping to mitigate against the impact of climate change.

Lynn Cassells said;

“Crofters are always making decisions about how to best use their land in changing economic circumstances, and the practical and environmental value of trees to a crofting or otherland management business – offering shelter, wood fuel, fodder, water management and wildlife habitat – are increasingly evident.

 “What’s also foremost in people’s minds is the pivotal role of tree planting is playing in helping to mitigate the impact of climate change, especially as we’re all now working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“For us, getting involved with the Woodland Carbon Code brought all of these issues together in a way that was a big win. The whole idea of being able to make such a practical contribution to tackling our climate emergency was very appealing – and the extra income from carbon will help us to carry on with our business.”

The Woodland Carbon Code – managed by Scottish Forestry on behalf of the UK government and devolved administrations – validates Lynbreck’s carbon capture and also commodifies it as tradeable ‘carbon units’ (tonnes of carbon dioxide sequestered) – units that can be sold at any time after validation.

Carbon units provide woodland managers with a valuable and different source of income but they are also a sought after commodity for businesses that are looking to compensate for their unavoidable emissions.

The Code’s standards and checks provide buyers the assurances they need that their investment will deliver the benefits stated. Buyers to date include household names in the retail, transport, fuel distribution and manufacturing sectors.

And the benefits can be considerable. A new native woodland can capture around 300 tCO2/ha by year 50 – and carbon units have been sold to companies at between £5 and £15/tCO2. Lynbreck’s 11 hectares of mixed native woodland (planted in 2017) are projected to generate over 5,500 carbon units over the next 60 years.

The owners of Lynbreck worked with Forest Carbon, a Woodland Carbon Code project developer, to get validated to the standard and to find a buyer for the carbon units. All of their credits have already been sold.

For more information about the code and how you can get involved in planting trees or buying carbon units visit their website or contact info@woodlandcarboncode.org.uk

credit: Sandra Angers Blondin

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