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Carbon storage and sequestration by habitat: a review of the evidence (second edition)

Natural England Research Report NERR094. Natural England, York

Abstract

Achieving ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 is a statutory requirement for the UK and England. It will require major changes in the way we manage the land, coast, and sea, alongside decarbonisation of the energy, transport and other sectors. The natural environment can play a vital role in tackling the climate crisis as healthy ecosystems take up and store a significant amount of carbon in soils, sediments and vegetation. Alongside many other negative impacts, the destruction and degradation of natural habitats has resulted in the direct loss of carbon stored within them. Restoring natural systems can start to reverse this damage at the same time as supporting and enhancing biodiversity, alongside delivering co-benefits for climate change adaptation, soil health, water management and society. This Natural England Research Report is designed to clearly set out the evidence for how restoration and good management of habitats can contribute to climate change mitigation. In this report, we review the scientific evidence base relating to carbon storage and sequestration by semi-natural habitats, in relation to their condition and/or management. This new report updates and expands previous work by Natural England on ‘Carbon storage by habitat’ published in 2012. We cover terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats, and the freshwater systems that connect them, in order to quantify their relative benefits for carbon management.

Author(s): Gregg, R, Elias, JL, Alonso, I, Crosher, IE, Muto, P, Morecroft, MD

Journal: Natural England Research Report NERR094. Natural England, York

Year: 2021

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