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Carbon Connects

Carbon Connects: INTEREG, North-West Europe

Project Duration: 45 months (March 2018 - December 2021)
Total EU Budget: €4,453,431
Total Ireland (LIT) Budget: €340,250

Project Description

Today one third of the global CO2 emissions are caused by drained and/or burned peatlands for agricultural use. There is an urgent need for sustainable alternatives and innovative business models for farmers and land managers on rewetted peatlands. The Carbon Connects Interreg project aims to reduce 50% of the unnecessarily high CO2 emissions caused by traditional practices on agricultural peatlands. CConnects promotes alternative practices of wet agriculture to protect the farmer and the environment against environmental consequences of climate change. In low lying peatlands, this can be done by raising water levels and introducing alternative crops and/or livestock adapted to wet conditions. Examples are Cattail and Reed, which can be used as low carbon construction materials, bio-fuels and animal feed. The cultivation of peat moss could prove an interesting alternative for the production of growing substrates for horticulture, which currently is a huge consumer of turf. In the UK the aim is to work with farmers and landowners to return upland peat bogs to the best possible ecological condition, maximizing carbon storage. Carbon Connects will work with a wide range of stakeholders (local authorities, research institutions, farmers, and landowners ) to conserve and enhance wetland ecosystems  by reducing emissions by about 1600-3200 ton per year on pilot sites across N-W Europe with a total surface of around 80 ha.

To facilitate this transformation in land use, Carbon Connects develops new business models including the application of blue and carbon-credit schemes to enable widespread implementation. These innovative business models will be implemented on 8 pilots in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, UK and Ireland, jointly representing all peatland types across North-West Europe. A Carbon Connnects transnational Farmer-2-Farmer learning programme will allow land users to directly share and scale experiences, while actively targeting new adopters with a transnational online toolbox of state of art land use and farming practices. Additionally, a set of policy papers will be drafted with the objective to adjust European rural policies in favour of Paludiculture in North-West Europe.

Carbon Connects news

Latest news on the Carbon Connects project from LIT can be seen below.

30 June, 2020:
LIT researchers to host Carbon Connects webinar on future of Irish peatlands
Project Objectives

Carbon Connects aims to reduce the high carbon footprint of peatlands soils in Northwest Europe by introducing new bio-based business models developed for sustainable land management practices. The business models enable the capturing of carbon in bio-based products which are marketed to different sectors such as construction, bio-gas and bio-energy and heat energy for domestic purposes.

By implementing the business models, Carbon Connects will:

  • Generate a Farmer-to-Farmer learning program to share best practices in each region by peers.
  • Develop a set of policy papers to scale up the required agricultural policy shift in NWE and EU.
  • Create an online collaborative living lab platform to have joint plan development and implementation of wet agriculture.
  • Set up an online toolbox of state of the art land use practices and business models to share knowledge.

Further Information

Project Factsheet

Project website

Contacts

Seamus Hoyne
Development Unit Manager
Email: seamus.hoyne@lit.ie

Dr Amey Tilak
Project Officer
Email: amey.tilak@lit.ie

LIT Activities (Development Unit)

  • Identify and work on a pilot site where alternative and appropriate land use practices can be considered and applied to increase carbon sequestration e.g. sphagnum moss applications, paludiculture crops (Wet Agriculture) and bio-energy crops etc
  • Complete some monitoring and analysis of CO2 impacts on the site with a view to justifying the models for future application in agricultural peatlands and general peatlands in Ireland
  • Work with project partners to develop and apply a farmer to farmer programme to present alternatives and consider the application of different land use solutions for peatlands
  • Input into relevant policy documents and outputs e.g. policy and conference papers
  • Information on EU financial Assistance: We greatly acknowledge the funding provided to the LIT, Ireland and all the European project partners by the European Development Regional Fund (www.nweurope.eu)