We face a climate emergency.
We need the heating of the planet to be kept below 1.5C to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate breakdown.
It’s no longer enough just to reduce carbon emissions. We also need to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Nature is our greatest ally in locking carbon away and protecting our climate. Rewilding can help nature recover on a massive scale and shape a better future for people.
Our country is rich is potentially climate-breakdown-busting habitats, including peat bogs, heathland, woodland and marine ecosystems.
Our new report outlines the potential for nature-based changes in our land use to reduce emissions and begin drawing carbon back out of the atmosphere.
Britain’s unique role
Britain’s land and seas have a unique part to play in the global effort to stop climate breakdown.
We are potentially rich in climate breakdown-busting habitats, including:
Healthy peat soaks up carbon as it forms over centuries. Britain has 13% of the world’s peat — but 80% is damaged and needs restoration.
For every hectare, peatland absorbs the equivalent of around 3.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
13% of the world’s peat
is found in Britain
Much of our land would naturally support trees that absorb carbon — but at 13% we have some of the lowest tree cover in Europe.
For every hectare, woodland can absorb an average equivalent of around 12.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Mosaics of ponds, fenland and lakes can support so much wildlife, and store carbon. The return of beavers could bring back additional benefits.
For every hectare, wetlands can absorb an average equivalent of around 5.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
The seas around Britain and their hidden meadows of seagrass can draw in carbon — if we can give them real protection, not just on paper.
For every hectare, marine environments can absorb an average equivalent of around 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Investing in nature’s recovery
Investing in nature’s recovery can help us hold the heating of the planet below 1.5C.
Those who manage our land and seas should be supported for the important role they play in reducing carbon.
And this doesn’t need to be a choice between feeding ourselves and nature. We already have large areas of land that produce little food.
A world leader in climate solutions
Britain should become a world leader in natural climate solutions.
We can show the way in responding to the climate emergency.
To enable nature’s recovery on a massive scale and help stop climate breakdown, we are calling on the UK governments to make the political and financial commitment this deserves.
Those who manage our land and seas should be supported to come together to rewild land and seascapes that deliver carbon reductions.
Leaving it to the market alone will take too long. We also need a mandatory carbon pricing mechanism to curb emissions and help fund natural climate solutions.
We are calling on the UK governments to make a political and financial commitment to enable nature’s recovery on a massive scale and help stop climate breakdown.
Inspired to take action for rewilding versus climate breakdown?
Image: Woodland regeneration, Creag Meagaidh — Susan Wright/Rewilding Britain