Study shows impact UK habitats can have in taking carbon out of the atmosphere

Researchers from Natural England have developed a picture of the impact that different UK habitats can have in taking carbon out of the atmosphere. Findings that are particularly relevant to Cambridgeshire include:

• Peatlands are the largest carbon stores. When in a healthy condition they soak up carbon slowly but can go on doing so indefinitely. Carbon held in the deep peat soils of fens hold eight times as much carbon as the equivalent area of tropical rainforest.

• Orchards and hedgerows are effective at storing significant amounts of carbon but generally cover a smaller area than other habitats and are cut regularly, limiting the amount of carbon gain. Their sensitive management, however, can increase carbon storage whilst providing benefits for wildlife and our cultural heritage.

• Woodlands have high rates of carbon sequestration – depending on the species, age and location. New native woodlands can support biodiversity at the same time as taking up carbon. Old woodlands can become substantial carbon stores, with a hectare of native woodland sequestering the equivalent CO2 each year as flying London to Rome 13 times.

Natural Cambridgeshire is actively working with partners across the county to facilitate a joined-up approach to environmental management, and to ensure that we are well positioned to influence and benefit from government policy and other local schemes that enable people and nature to thrive.

A full copy of the report can be found on Natural England’s website here.