Carbon Connects

Carbon Connects is a research project of the professorship Organic Matter for Soil Fertility and Functionality.

Carbon Connects is an Interreg North-West Europe initiative with a primary focus on peatland restoration. Originally slated for a four-year period commencing in 2018, the project's timeline has been extended to December 2023.

The issue

At a global level, peatlands store at least 550 gigatonnes of carbon, equivalent to more than twice the carbon stored in all forests or 75% of all carbon in the atmosphere. When degraded, these peatlands emit carbon into the atmosphere, but they can also contribute to avoided emissions when restored. 

The project

Making restoration projects and sustainable peatland farming activities economically viable requires external funding. Therefore, Carbon Connects aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from drainage practices while proposing new viable and sustainable economic models for peatland use. Led by partners from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK, the Carbon Connects project has been able to manage and innovate ten pilot sites in north-western Europe.

Deliverables

After four years, the project extended its activities in a  capitalisation phase, with a full focus on providing new financial incentives to facilitate peatland restoration. Many private companies today could invest in peatland restoration to meet their carbon offset targets, but lack connections, financial mechanisms and a sufficiently reliable framework for certifying carbon credits. A Market Accelerator Board has been set up within the project to initiate a dialogue on this subject. Through this approach, the Carbon Connects project has effectively established a direct connection between investors, brokers, and land managers.

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Project duration: 2018 - 2023
Project partners: The Rivers Trust, VLM (Flemish Land Agency), ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research), European Landowners Organization, AC3A (Association of the Chambers of Agriculture of the Atlantic Area), Phillipps Universit├Ąt Marburg, Durham County Council, Technological University of the Shannon, Radboud University, Wear Rivers Trust, Water Authority Aa and Maas, VHL University of Applied Sciences