We’ve just sent out this press release:
Phase 3 of EBLEX’s Beef and Sheep Roadmap “Down to Earth” was published today, reporting on how the Livestock Industry is responding to the challenge to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint. The Grasslands Trust, which has previously highlighted the important role that semi-natural grasslands play as a carbon sink, welcomed EBLEX’s recognition that carbon storage in grassland soils needs to be factored in to any calculations of the carbon footprint of the livestock sector.
Miles King, Director of Conservation at The Grasslands Trust said “there is increasing evidence of the critical role that grassland soils play in storing carbon. Restoring agricultural grassland to a wildlife-rich state can lead to it storing over 3 Tonnes of extra carbon per hectare per year and this accumulation is on a par with most types of woodland carbon storage. It’s ridiculous to calculate the carbon footprint of meat without including the carbon stored in the soils and this skews the results in favour of intensive systems.” Semi-natural grasslands can store up to 130 Tonnes of Carbon per hectare, far more than improved grasslands. The change in land use from improved to unimproved grassland is not included in the current PAS 2050 methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of products.
The Grasslands Trust has submitted a funding bid to DECC to develop a system that funds farmers to increase the carbon stored in their grasslands. Miles King explained “there is really obvious win-win with grasslands – by restoring their biodiversity, this also massively increases the amount of carbon stored in them. Grasslands across England are the second largest carbon store after peatlands – and we could store so much more by tweaking their management. We’re still waiting to hear back from DECC about the proposal.”
The Grasslands Trust have recently published an in depth report, Nature’s Tapestry, which examines the importance of wildlife-rich grasslands as an ecosystem service.
Notes to Editors
The Grasslands Trust is the only national charity in the UK that focuses exclusively on grasslands. We were established in 2002 to address the crisis facing wildlife-rich grasslands in the UK. Many sites are so small and isolated they no longer provide a sustainable home for the plants and insects that depend on them. In the last seventy years 98% of our wildflower meadows have been destroyed, a habitat that supports many of our best loved species -birds such as the barn owl, skylark, and lapwing; mammals like the hare; plants such as the green-winged orchid; and many types of butterfly and bumblebee.
Our aim is to secure grassland sites that are rich in wildlife or important for their beauty, landscape or cultural value. Our vision is that, one day, everyone in the UK will live near to a wildlife-rich grassland.
Sarah Knight on 023 80650093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Miles King, Director of Conservation 07912-580671 email@example.com
 See Nature’s Tapestry http://www.grasslands-trust.org/project.php?projectid=7
 Bell & Worrall (2009) Estimating a region’s soil organic carbon baseline: The undervalued role of land-management. Geoderma 152 (2009) 74–84