Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (267)

Bernard Durkan


267. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of non-arable wetlands and the extent to which such lands are reckonable in terms of carbon reduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28587/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department recognises wetlands as an important carbon pool. Reducing emissions from these areas is a means to contribute to our climate ambitions through mobilising Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) credits over the period 2021 to 2030. This is an important part of Agriculture's contribution to the emission reductions and is set out in the all of Government Climate Action Plan released on June 17th 2019.

The Climate Action Plan targets at least 40,000 hectares for reduced intensity management of the 370,000 hectares carbon rich soils under agricultural management as part of our commitment.

There is also carbon abatement potential in the rewetting of non-agricultural wetlands. This is classified Wetland - Draining and Rewetting (WDR) and comes last in the hierarchy of activities under LULUCF. This means that WDR is restricted to organic soils not reported under net afforestation, forest management, cropland management and grassland management. This hierarchy restricts WDR in many cases to former or active peat extraction areas, degraded near-natural areas or otherwise abandoned organic soils. As a result, these come under the responsibility of the National Parks and Wildlife services and Bord Na Mona to initiate carbon abatement actions in these areas.