BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK

British scientists are exceptionally well represented amongst the world leaders in the arena of conservation science as evidenced by our nation's unequalled output of wildlife documentaries. 

 

Historically, our country's zoologists and ecologists have undertaken exceptional landscape conservation programmes variously overseas in East Africa, South America, India and beyond on behalf of elephants, gorillas, tigers, jaguars and many more rare species.

 

Landscape conservation approaches have not typically been employed here at home for UK endangered species.  This is due to the fact our landscapes have been so dramatically altered.  For example, less than 1% remains of the once vast Caledonian Forest that covered most of Scotland.  The majority of peatland areas have been drained off to expand grazing and hunting areas.  So, there is very limited scope for nature reserves in the UK which would protect pristine habitats and the rare species that roam and fly across them.  But what if carbon offsetting itself became a game changer?  That is, presenting us with the opportunity to restore habitats to their former glory at scale for biodiversity.

Typically to date, UK carbon offsetting projects have not been driven by conservation science.  Rather, they have been based upon KPIs for the number of trees in the ground.  A significant proportion of projects have taken place in a fragmented way on arable and marginal farm land.  These projects do of course bring climate benefits and are a part of the solution.  However, their locations, site design, fragmentation and scale are not conducive to meaningful biodiversity impacts for rare species on a national scale.

The fact that much of the UK landscape has been altered presents a world-class opportunity for habitat rewilding.  That’s where we come in.  Highland Carbon was founded by a British zoologist with experience in international conservation projects in the Americas and Pacific Rim.  We bring those principles of best practice into our work right here in the UK.

Every carbon offsetting project undertaken by Highland Carbon takes place in locations which have been specially chosen to benefit rare species.  We are restoring the nation’s wild places to their former splendour with natural planting schemes and wetland restoration.  Our afforestation projects, for example, include more than a dozen tree species, even include those which have been decimated from the Highlands such as aspen and oak.

Our Landscape Conservation Principles

  1. Selecting locations with High levels of biodiversity

  2. So rare species can spread and populate restored habitats

  3. Working in the Scottish Highlands and Mountains of Snowdonia identified by Cambridge University Centre for Conservation as the UK's two Endangered Landscapes

  4. Enhancing Sites of Special Scientific Interest

  5. Linking existing forests to create wildlife corridors, diverse feeding areas and shelter belts

  6. Buffering vestiges of high-quality habitats such as old growth Caledonian forest

  7. Undertaking peatland projects which bring immediate benefits for rare birds and plant-life

Biodiversity Principles

  1. Working with estates that are home to rare and endangered species such as eagles, Scottish wildcats, Pine Martens, Red squirrels and more

  2. Offering greater monitoring of Special Protection Areas such as nesting sites

  3. Undertaking species surveys before and after establishment

  4. Working with NGOs who support rare species in discrete ways

  5. Collaborations for future rewilding of species such as the beaver

  6. In some cases, creating conservation and education centres on estates which support wildlife management and are available for the public to visit

Principals of Land Owner Partnerships

  1. Credentials which increase the natural capital value of estates

  2. Carbon revenue which incentivises best practice in land management

  3. Diversifying trading activity such as visitor revenue, ecotourism, accommodation, catering, etc

  4. As a result, encouraging other estates to become part of the climate solution with a win-win approach

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