Six pioneering nature projects across England receive major funding award to trial the most effective ways to capture carbon and mitigate the impacts of climate change, Natural England announced on 11 February.
Operating at a landscape scale of over 500 hectares each, the six projects will restore landscapes across England – from Plymouth to Northumberland – and assess how carbon is captured and stored across different habitats such as grasslands, forests, wetlands and hedgerows.
The £4.3 million of funding will support:
Wild Exmoor Carbon Sequestration Project: The National Trust has been awarded almost £1 million to deliver targeted nature-based solutions and carbon capture across its 670-hectare Watersmeet estate. The charity will create a wetter and wilder landscape by restoring and protecting coastal woodland, heathland habitats, species rich grassland and wood pasture.
Wansbeck Restoration for Climate Change (WRCC): Almost £600,000 has been awarded to the project managed by Groundwork NE & Cumbria which will assess how nature-based solutions can thrive in a farmed landscape. The project will restore mixed habitats – grasslands, peaty pockets and woodlands – and demonstrate how landowners can work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon sequestration. Working across 10 sites, the work will restore over 144 hectares and will contribute to the wider restoration of the River Wansbeck catchment in Northumberland.
Plymouth’s Natural Grid Nature Based Solutions for Climate Change at the Landscape Scale project: Approximately £1 million will support Plymouth City Council, working in collaboration with the National Trust, to restore natural habitats and create local solutions to climate change in the urban environment through wood pasture, species rich grassland and woodland creation, salt marsh restoration and floodplain mosaic habitat creation.
Derwent Forest Landscape Recovery Project, part of the Derwent Connections Programme: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been awarded £645,000 for its Derwent Forest Landscape Recovery partnership-led pilot project. This project aims to create connected woody habitats between the Northern and National Forests to allow movement of species in response to climate change. It will also develop an economically viable programme to support landowners to create and expand dynamic and resilient ecosystems.
The Oxfordshire–Buckinghamshire Freshwater Network: This programme, run by the Freshwater Habitats Trust, has been awarded over £780,000 to focus on the role played by smaller, peat-dominated wetlands, floodplains, wet grasslands and waters in sequestering carbon in the landscape. These habitats are of exceptional importance for freshwater biodiversity, which is in rapid decline. The project will help to better understand the role that these habitats can play in carbon sequestration. It will also help Freshwater Habitats Trust build the Freshwater Network – a national network of wilder, wetter, cleaner and connected freshwaters.
Severn Solutions for Nature’s Recovery (SSNR): Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has been awarded over £417,000 to work with Hasfield Court Estate to restore a 500-hectare estate in the Severn Vale. The partnership’s vision is to demonstrate and provide evidence of how the restoration of native habitats can provide nature-based solutions that help adapt to climate change and tackle the ecological emergency. Following a baseline survey of the estate, options have been tailored to maximise landscape connectivity between existing priority habitats, and will involve the creation of wood pasture, traditional orchards and species rich grassland. These actions will create habitats for important pollinator species, nesting opportunities for farmland birds and foraging networks for protected bat species.