UK Woodland Carbon Code - the basics

This voluntary code encourages a consistent approach to woodland carbon projects and offers clarity and transparency to customers.

While society must take every effort to reduce its CO2 emissions, tree planting can also play a role by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The potential of woodlands to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere while providing a host of other benefits for society and biodiversity is increasingly recognised, and many individuals and businesses wish to contribute to tree planting to help society soak up the carbon it emits. But before investing in such projects people want to know that schemes will actually deliver the carbon savings that they claim.

The UK Woodland Carbon Code provides reassurance about the carbon savings that customers' contributions may realistically achieve.

Validation / verification to the code means that woodland carbon projects:

  • are responsibly and sustainably managed to national standards
  • can provide reliable estimates of the amount of carbon that will be sequestered or locked up as a result of the tree planting
  • must be publicly registered and independently verified
  • meet transparent criteria and standards to ensure that real carbon benefits are delivered

To meet the requirements of the code, projects must:

  • register their project, stating the exact location and long-term objectives of their project
  • meet national forestry standards to ensure they are sustainably and responsibly managed
  • have a long-term management plan
  • use standard methods for estimating the carbon that will be sequestered
  • demonstrate that the project delivers additional carbon benefits than would otherwise have been the case
  • maintain verification for the duration of the project

Projects that meet all these requirements can carry the Woodland Carbon Code label of approval.

The code works for everyone involved:

  • Carbon buyers have reassurance that they have invested in a responsible scheme and can see the benefits that will be provided.
  • Projects have recognised procedures and standards to work to and can use their verified status as an attractive selling point for potential customers.
  • Woodland managers have clearly set out standards of forest management to follow.

Sell or use carbon units:

  • Carbon units can only be used once - you can sell them to a third party to compensate for their emissions or you can use them yourself against your own emissions

Climate change and woodlands - the basics

Forest Research has produced a series of factsheets giving the basics about trees and climate:



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