Sunday, 29 March 2020

C is for Carbon capture

Please remember! We ask that people do not visit the Reserve particularly if you have to travel. All car parks on Holy Island are closed to visitors until government restrictions are lifted. Many residents on Holy island fall into the vulnerable category. Please adhere to these guidelines for the health and safety of yourself and others during this time.

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is renowned for its stunning sweeping landscapes over dunes, salt marsh, intertidal areas and rocky shores. From Holy Island itself vast swathes of the Northumberland coast can be seen and even the borders of Scotland to the north.

However, what many people don’t realise is the valuable function that this landscape plays in the fight against climate change by storing and capturing carbon. Salt marsh and Eel grass beds are two habitats that have an incredible ability to capture and store carbon from the air and water, locking it up within the vegetation and sediment. Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve has large expanses of both of these enabling the site to capture a huge amount of carbon. A number that we are working on trying to calculate!
Salt Marsh on Lindisfarne in full bloom ©JJD

When discussing carbon capture most people think planting more trees is the only way. While this will capture carbon from the air, most research points towards our coastal habitats of bogs and marshes providing a more vital role. The role is three-fold while capturing carbon from the atmosphere, salt marsh also protects from coastal flooding and erosion by breaking up the wave energy and forming a barrier between the waves and terrestrial areas behind. It also provides and important feeding ground for many species of bird and has significant botanical interest due to the conditions that many of these plants have adapted to thriving in.

However much of our countries bogs, marshes and wetlands are under threat from development and drainage. Each time one of these habitats is destroyed vast amounts of carbon is unlocked and put back into the atmosphere. That’s why we are so passionate about keeping the 3,500 hectares of Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve free from habitat destruction and degradation and capturing carbon for generations to come. As a society, we need to value our bogs and marshes much more as their significant role in the fight against climate change is becoming more apparent.

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