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Carbon sources to sinks: ECCI project aims to transform landscapes

Kicking off at ECCI this week, the EIT Climate-KIC Landscapes as Carbon Sinks Deep Demonstration project aims to turn Scotland’s transform landscapes from carbon sources into sinks.

Key members of Scotland’s land-based community came together to begin designing a systemic transformation of the land use sectors to make the whole of Scotland a carbon sink, building on the target of the Government of Scotland of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

Joint led by the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes (CSFL) and ECCI, the initiative brings together the research expertise of CSFL and ECCI’s focus on the low carbon economy.

Professor Jaboury Ghazoul, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes said: “Land use remains a source of greenhouse gases due to inappropriate agricultural, forestry, and land degradation practices that reduce sink and sequestration functions in many regions.

This should change. Land, its uses, and its ecosystems, offer untapped opportunities to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and to sequester carbon in biomass and soil. This is not as straightforward as simply planting trees, though that remains part of the solution, but rather requires an integrated landscape management perspective.”

With sites in Scotland and France, the project aims to demonstrate that holistic approaches can be implemented to make land and its ecosystems play their role in addressing climate change and to help territories meet carbon neutrality.

The project's exploratory phase kicked off with an ECCI-hosted workshop, in which stakeholders across rural and land based sectors gathered to design the objectives, activities, and implementation plans for the project in 2020 and beyond.

The first phase was based around the principle of ‘deep listening’ to the individuals and organisations facing challenges and scoping out the scale of the solution.

Attendees included Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust and forest-mapping start-up CloudForest.

ECCI project lead and Head of Innovation and Skills at the Centre, Jamie Brogan, said: "ECCI brings together partnerships to innovate and drive a low carbon economy – we were delighted to have brought together industry, policy and research partners who are committed to making the sector deliver Scotland’s climate change targets".

Landscapes as Carbon Sinks Deep Demonstration is one of the projects and programmes delivered by ECCI in partnership with Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest climate entrepreneurship programme. ECCI is the official Scottish partner of Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest climate innovation initiative.

Want to know more about ECCI's work with Climate-KIC?