The Peatland Code

Our projects are undergoing certification to the Peatland Code. This is a voluntary certification standard for peatland projects wishing to market the climate benefits of peatland restoration.

The Peatland Code sets out a series of best practice requirements including a standard method for quantification of the greenhouse gas (GHG) benefit. Independent validation to this standard provides assurance and clarity for buyers of carbon offsets with regards to the quantity and quality of emissions reductions purchased. Recognising that carbon benefits arise for many years after the initial restoration activities are implemented, the Peatland Code also ensures the carbon benefit will be regularly measured and monitored over the lifetime of the project (a minimum of 30 years). Buyers can, therefore, be confident in purchasing the peatland carbon units upfront, enabling the restoration project to take place. This also locks in the carbon that is already there which may amount to many thousands of tonnes of carbon per hectare.

The Woodland Code

Trees and forests can mitigate climate change through sequestering carbon. Woodland creation, therefore, provides an attractive option for companies, organisations and individuals wishing to reduce their carbon footprint while also delivering a range of other environmental and social benefits.

Our aim is to work to the highest standards. With that in mind, we look at using methodolgy such as in the Woodland Carbon Code. It is a voluntary standard for woodland creation projects and sets out robust requirements for voluntary carbon sequestration projects that incorporate core principles of good carbon management as part of sustainable forest management. Landowners and their successors in title commit to a permanent change of land use to woodland. Independent validation and verification to this standard provide assurance and clarity about the carbon savings of these sustainably managed woodlands.

Consequently, the Code offers carbon credit buyers the assurance that each woodland scheme will deliver the benefits that we say it will, and that that woodland represents genuine new additional planting. There is more about the range of principles concerned in the Codes in our sections about Additionality & Permanence, Carbon Calculations, Biodiversity & Environment, Rural Development and Monitoring.

Compliance with the Code means that buyers can be assured that:

  • That the right trees have been planted, in the right place
  • The woodlands are responsibly and sustainably managed to ProSilva standards and are protected in the long term
  • The carbon capture estimates are project-specific, based on sound science, and risk-adjusted
  • The woodland has been independently audited and verified
  • The trees would not be there but for the intervention of Green Restoration Ireland and its partners

Each project developed under the Code will be registered with an independent Carbon Registry (to be decided), a leading provider of global carbon and environmental credit registry services. Projects are certified to ISO standards by an INAB accredited third-party and an ongoing monitoring programme for the woodlands is agreed between the parties. Carbon credits that arise from certified projects will appear on the Registry – giving buyers assurance and transparency for interested parties.

The Code is aligned with the core requirements of other international voluntary forest carbon standards and of the Kyoto Protocol.

Carbon Calculations

Woodland carbon estimates are based on data supplied by the UK Forestry Commission’s world-leading Forest Research department. Carbon estimates are project-specific, based on species mix and management plan, and local data such as soil type and altitude. In addition, estimates will be adjusted based on local knowledge.

The Woodland Carbon Code’s extremely conservative carbon calculation methodology provides a generous safety margin that mitigates against potential set-back such as slower-than-expected growth or disease.

Under the Peatlands Code, a standard field protocol determines the pre-restoration baseline condition categories across the site which are mapped and the peat depth determined at survey points. A GHG emissions baseline (tCO2e) is established against which GHG emissions reduction as a result of the project are calculated, using the Peatland Code Emissions Calculator. The GHG emissions baseline is derived from a continuation of the pre-restoration peatland condition category in the absence of the project.

Peatland Code projects and their GHG assertions are validated and verified by an independent validation/verification body to a reasonable level of assurance. All projects must allocate 15% of net GHG emissions reduction over the project duration to the Peatland Code Risk Buffer.

Monitoring

Once the woodland is planted, it’s important that we all know how it’s doing. All of our woodlands are signed-off at planting, at year 5 and at year 10 by the Forestry Commission, and Forest Carbon also inspects them regularly after planting. In addition to this, under the Woodland Carbon Code, all projects are required to be ‘verified’ (this is a re-certification process) at years 5, 15, 25, 35 and so on, and this will be subject to the same audit as the initial certification.

The Peatland Code requires a Monitoring Plan to determine condition category change prior to each verification which takes place as a minimum in Year Five after restoration works and every 10 years thereafter.