NEW technology is being used to measure the carbon capture of scrub and pasture on rewilding land in the north of Scotland.

The initiative is one of the first to benefit from a new fund launched to boost locally-led land and marine nature recovery projects, including community initiatives and those focused on improving people’s health and wellbeing.

The Rewilding Innovation Fund is the first of its kind and will be awarded to projects seeking to create new opportunities for large-scale nature restoration through community engagement, business plans or the use of technology. It comes at a time when rewilding is becoming increasingly mainstream, receiving growing support from politicians and the public alike.

Bunloit Estate, owned by former Greenpeace director Jeremy Leggett, is one of three rewilding projects to benefit from a £55,000 pot used for a pilot of the fund. Leggett aims to not only restore biodiversity, but also to help rebuild the local economy and tackle climate change.

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The estate is now working in partnership with Treeconomy to measure the amount of carbon sequestration in above-ground biomass, especially scrub, using remote sensing and drone-borne Light Detecting and Ranging technology.

The work aims to increase the accuracy of carbon credits for rewilding projects and open up potentially more financial markets for rewilding in Britain.

Sara King of Rewilding Britain added that it was hoped community projects in particular would be supported by the new fund.

“Locally-led action is central to helping nature recover in ways that work for people and communities, and for creating connectivity of nature across the country,” she said.

The launch of the fund comes at a time when rewilding is seeing huge levels of support from the public. A recent YouGov poll commissioned by Rewilding Britain showed that four in five Britons (81%) support rewilding.

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The organisation defines rewilding as the large-scale restoration of nature by restoring habitats and natural processes to the point it can take care of itself and, where appropriate, reintroducing missing species. The charity is calling for major nature recovery across at least 30% of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, with 5% of this being the rewilding of native forest, peatland, grasslands, wetlands, rivers and coastal areas. The remaining 25% would support nature-positive and regenerative farming and other uses that benefit local economies.

Applications for the Rewilding Innovation Fund close at the end of March, with money awarded to those with the potential for the highest impact for people and nature. There will be two further rounds for applications to the fund in 2022.

The Innovation Fund has been made possible through funding from the Dormywood Trust, Evolution Education Trust, The Vintry, Charles Langdale and others.

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