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Tree Planting for Carbon Offset & Carbon Balance

Trees are a tried and tested way to trap (sequester) carbon from the atmosphere. As they grow they store carbon within their woody material, roots and leaves, and that means a little less CO2 in the atmosphere. They also change the biome in which they reside creating leaf litter and enriching soils with biogenic materials, in tern this also increases the carbon storage potential of soils.

Woodland creation can also provide many co-benefits in addition to carbon sequestration. Woodlands can improve air quality and provide wildlife habitat, timber and woodfuel as well as sites for public recreation. In the right places they can reduce flooding and improve water quality. They can also provide opportunities for community engagement, staff volunteering, education and development as well as rural business development and diversification.

Tree Planting for Carbon Offset & Carbon Balance Easy?

It is very easy to potentially offset some carbon through tree planting:

Potentially?

There are so many tree planting schemes that are advertised that it is difficult to choose between them, but it is important to be careful when choosing as some are not what they seam. If you are going to spend money on off setting we are here to help make sure it is verifiable.

Some?

How much do you want to offset? It is easy to offset 1 ton of carbon, but how much do you need to offset to make a true difference. 1 Ton of carbon might represent 10% of a UK inhabitants annual carbon footprint, but if that person is a regular flyer, then this percentage might be as low as 1%. How much offsetting is appropriate? 

Verification of Tree Planting & Offsetting

Projects or group schemes must be regularly verified at least at Year 5 and then every ten years by an independent validation/verification body. There are only two bodies who can verify woodland units units the Woodland Carbon Code in the UK. They are Organic Farmers and Growers and The Soil Association.

Tree Planting Offset Standard Example

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the UK’s voluntary carbon standard for woodland creation projects. It provides reassurance about the carbon savings that woodland projects may realistically achieve.

Woodland creation is the direct, human-induced conversion to woodland of land that has not been under tree cover for at least 25 years. The woodland can be established by planting, direct seeding or natural regeneration. Organic soil consists of more than 50 cm deep organic (or peat) surface horizon overlaying the mineral layer or rock. A list of organic soils is available

Permanence describes the issue of ensuring removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is permanent, and not reversed at a future point in time. Woodland projects carry a risk of reversibility and as such safeguards must be in place to minimise that risk and to guarantee replacement or alternative woodland should a reversal occur.

Carbon Statement of Woodland Offsetting

A Carbon statement is simply a statement of what a project will sequester or has sequestered to date. It can be restated by more than one party with an interest in a project. Carbon units can only be reported (used) by the buyer/owner, after verification by the landowner. Both the UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Guidance and the British Standards Institute’s PAS2060:2014 Specification for the Demonstration of Carbon Neutrality state how verified Woodland Carbon Units can be used. Anyone making carbon or other environmental claims should also refer to Defra’s Green Claims Guidance. See Section 2.6 on how carbon units are represented in the UK Woodland Carbon Registry. 

Carbon Baselines

A carbon baseline is the reference sequestration over time from which the impact of the project can be measured. It is based on a continuation of the current land use in the absence of the project. Changes to baseline are significant if they are ≥5% of the project carbon sequestration over the duration of the project. Carbon pools included:

So not just Trees.

Carbon Leakage from Woodland Offsetting Schemes

Leakage is GHG emissions outside the project boundary as a result of the project (e.g. displacement of agricultural activities might result in deforestation or intensification of use of non-wooded land elsewhere).Leakage is significant if it results in GHG emissions of magnitude ≥5% of the project carbon sequestration over the duration of the project.

Calculations

In order to calculate your offsetting potential the spread sheet to the right has to be filled out this is 1 page of 4.

As you can imagine filling out such a large garishly coloured spreadsheet is not very entertaining, and for the sake of you own health & happiness we would suggest that you pay us to do it for you. 
carbon offset spread sheet