Keywords: rural land use, forestry, climate change mitigation, carbon trading, ground truthing, Scotland, emissions reduction, new tree planting, new trees, afforestation, farmer antipathy, taxation, farm–produced renewable energy, carbon emissions, rural development
The scope of the land–based sector to mitigate climate change in North–east Scotland: opportunities and challenges with particular reference to the role of forests
This paper reviews the scope for the rural land use sector to support emissions reduction with particular reference to the role of forestry. A bottom–up approach is adopted to explore the relative contribution of different land–based activities in the region and explore the Scottish policy context and the scope for emissions reduction through new tree planting. It is concluded that the institutional architecture is incomplete, in that although the Rural Development Programme supports afforestation, informal institutions, especially farmer antipathy, militate against afforestation. Ground–truthing indicates scope for major efficiency gains in emissions reduction if tradable solutions are pursued. There is scope for policy enhancement and, if land use sector carbon emissions were offset against farm–produced renewable energy and carbon emissions were taxed, a significant flow of money from low ground farms to the disadvantaged hill areas would be likely, as these areas have the greatest potential with respect to climate change mitigation.