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Carbon in the Vegetation and Soils of Great Britain

Date: 1997

Evidence type: Research

Organisations: Journal of Environmental Management, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology

Author(s): Milne, R. & Brown, T.

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Description

The total amount of carbon held by vegetation in Great Britain is estimated to be 114 Mtonnes. Woodlands and forests hold 80% of the G.B. total although they occupy only about 11% of the rural land area. Broadleaf species hold about 50% of the carbon in woodlands and forests. A map of carbon in the vegetation of Great Britain at 1 kmx1 km resolution based on land cover identified in the I.T.E. Land Cover Map is presented. The predominant location of vegetation carbon is the broadleaved woodlands of southern England. The amount of carbon in the soils of Great Britain is estimated to be 9838 Mt (6948 Mt in Scotland and 2890 Mt in England and Wales). In Scotland, most soil carbon is in blanket peats, whereas most soil carbon is in stagnogley soils in England and Wales. The carbon content of the soils of Great Britain is mapped at 1 kmx1 km resolution. Scottish peat soils have the greatest density of carbon and in total contain 4523 Mt of carbon, 46% of the G.B. total.

Key Messages

Soils contain much more carbon than vegetation.

Although this pool is only able to change slowly, changes in land use have a major long-term effect on the carbon held in soils.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure
Climate change role/function
Carbon storage and sequestration

Changes in land use due to new government policies and schemes, e.g. set aside, may result in particular places becoming significant sources or sinks for carbon.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure
Climate change role/function
Carbon storage and sequestration

Woodlands and forests hold 80% of the Great Britain total although they occupy only about 11% of the rural land area. Broadleaf species hold about 50% of the carbon in woodlands and forests.

The predominant location of vegetation carbon is the broadleaved woodlands of southern England.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Trees
Climate change role/function
Carbon storage and sequestration
Document Analysis

Complete

Level of document
National
Geographical area to which document refers
United Kingdom
Is 'green infrastructure' mentioned?
No
Relevant to climate change...
Mitigation
Is it relevant to other (non-climate change) benefits of green infrastructure?
Yes
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