CarbonMap initiative for sustainable land management

The project works on the development of a CarbonMap tool for understanding the potential for carbon sequestration in the soils and vegetation of farms.

Overview

The UK’s net zero strategy aims to engage farmers in low-carbon practices. A better understanding of carbon sequestration, at the farm level and between types of land-use within farms, is crucial for the governance of sustainable farming. Application of the CarbonMap Tool can help farmers to make easier and better decisions for their businesses and the environment and consequently contribute to achieving carbon neutrality in the agricultural sector. The project will engage with farmers and landowners to apply the CarbonMap Tool at different farms in various locations around East Sussex.

Project description

Farmers’ interest in sustainable, low-carbon practices is increasing, due to growing pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and ultimately to achieve carbon neutrality.  The project contributes to the development of the CarbonMap Tool, which aims to provide a better understanding of carbon sequestration and emission reduction at an individual farm level. The Tool is mainly based on farm-level information, combined with satellite data. The satellite data is obtained from optical and synthetic aperture radar sensors, which map carbon [sequestration and emissions] associated with a number of different ground environments (bare soil, pasture, cropland, agroforestry systems, sparse and dense forest). The project will be helpful in comparing carbon-efficiency between farms, and in identifying options for sustainable land management practices.

Timeline and funding

Timeline

February 2022-July 2022

Funding

HEIF fund co-sponsored by SSRP (£23,469)

Method

The project uses i) farm-level information, such as soil and vegetation surveys, inputs and outputs information; ii) satellite data; and, iii) findings from interviews with farmers and a workshop. These together will provide an understanding of the carbon sequestration potential of East Sussex farms. Results will be shared with stakeholders, comparing the carbon-efficiency of different farms and of various sustainable land management solutions to achieve carbon neutrality. Insights gathered in the workshop and semi-structured interviews will be fed into designing and amending the CarbonMap Tool. 

Expected impacts and outcomes

The project aims to address the existing challenges of understanding carbon sequestration at the farm level. Such information and tools could be useful for incentive schemes for promotion of sustainable farming technologies and practices. Successful sustainable land management can increase the resilience and net income of farms and, also contribute to achieving net zero targets in the agricultural sector. 

The team

Where we worked

East Sussex, United Kingdom.