Managing our Land Use
The Agriculture and Land use sector accounts for 20% of emissions covered by the Welsh Government’s 3% annual reduction target. The latest data (for 2012) shows that since the baseline (2006-2010) emissions have only reduced by 1.2%. The way we manage our land and soils is critical to both climate change mitigation – due the role as a carbon sink – and also to how we adapt to impacts such as flooding.
The Climate Change Commission for Wales believes it is important to develop more sustainable ways of managing our land use.
• Focus action on resource efficiency to improve both the financial, carbon efficiency and multiple benefits of the agricultural sector, peatland restoration and tree planting in both rural and urban areas, to maximise carbon sequestration and safeguard the natural environment while reducing the heat and water quality impacts on urban areas.
• Provide appropriate channels and resources to enable communities and the non-expert environmental sector to obtain advice and support, and contribute to this work.
• Incorporate and encourage Green infrastructure (GI) solutions across all departments, sectors and stakeholders.
Natural Resources Wales Carbon Positive Project
NRW is aiming to become an exemplar in carbon management and sharing best practice for use across the Welsh public sector. The Carbon Positive Project will evaluate NRW’s net carbon status, accounting for both greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration across the whole of NRW’s estate. The project will identify mitigation opportunities to reduce our carbon impact as an organisation and deliver projects to demonstrate these measures. The project will also put in place a plan for future implementation of mitigation measures, embedding carbon management across the organisation and facilitating NRW becoming an exemplar in carbon management. Through sharing our approach and experiences, the Carbon Positive Project will help to disseminate best practice in carbon management across the Welsh public sector. Find out more on the website.
Snowdonia National Park – Peatland Restoration Project
Focussed around the foothills of the Snowdonia mountain range, the Eryri and Hiraethog Peatland Restoration Project aims to conserve and restore peat rich habitats. This protects the key services they provide to society and prevents biodiversity loss. In an area where rural poverty is a real issue, it is vital that upland areas are sustainably managed to provide economic benefits to local communities whilst ensuring that the key ecosystem services which they deliver are not compromised. The project hopes to reinstate the ecological integrity and ecosystem services. These include: Improving water quality, reducing peak flow rates lower down the valley by retaining water during periods of heavy rainfall and releasing water during periods of drought; Ensuring that the bog remains a net sink of carbon by re-wetting the land, preventing the oxidisation of the peat and thus the release of carbon back into the atmosphere and promoting capture of further carbon are not compromised.
Find out more on their website.
In 2008 the Welsh Government made a pledge to plant a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales. So far 253,934 trees have been planted, across 12 sites in Wales, as part of the Plant! Project, which is being delivered on behalf of Welsh Government by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Woodland Trust. Each child receives a certificate stating where their tree will be planted. By planting a tree to celebrate the birth or adoption of every child in Wales, Plant! will create new woodlands for future generations. The project will also help to build a stronger connection between people and their environment and improve native habitats, and will allow parents to play their part in nurturing a healthy planet in which their child and their tree is growing.
From 1st April 2014 the commitment was extended to plant an additional tree in Uganda for every child. A native Welsh tree will be planted in newly created woodland in Wales and a second tree will be planted in Uganda in partnership with the environmental charity Size of Wales. The paper and card we use for the project comes from well managed forests where trees are replaced each time they are felled creating a sustainable resource for future generations.
Link for further info.
Reducing emissions from this sector is key because of the impacts on farming, food production, habitats and wildlife. The Commission’s Land Use and Climate Change group has recently been involved in a review of the Land Use & Climate Change Report (from 2010) – looking at the evidence base to develop further actions to cut emission and adapt to a changing climate. The main areas for delivery are:
Improved efficiency of agricultural production
Expanding woodlands and restoring peatland
Exploiting opportunities in rural areas for generating renewable energy
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