Organizations generally choose carbon offsetting to address a specific problem: neutralizing the impact of their carbon emissions by absorbing or avoiding the emissions elsewhere.
In today’s competitive environment, businesses are seeking to maximize the benefits from their carbon offset programs by achieving wider social and environmental benefits as well as carbon reductions.
How can progressive carbon offsets create non-carbon environmental benefits, such as land reclamation?
What is Land Reclamation?
Land reclamation and restoration is the process of returning damaged or depleted soil back to its original, healthy state.
Healthy soil maintains a natural balance between microorganisms and animals; nutrients and water cycles; and the physical structure and chemical makeup of the soil. If this delicate balance becomes disrupted, the damaged soil system may not be able to support the plant and animal life that make up the local ecosystem.
Land that has been deforested, polluted by mining, industrial sites or landfill activities, or depleted by over-intensive agricultural practices may be unable to recover naturally.
The soil may be eroded by wind and rain, which increases the risk of flooding and landslides, or invasive species may take hold and crowd out native plants, further limiting biodiversity.
But depleted land can be decontaminated, improved and reclaimed by planting suitable species to enhance its natural biodiversity, or by restoring habitat ‘corridors’ to allow animals to access wider territories and maintain genetic diversity.
Anyone undertaking land reclamation projects must understand the soil and ecological conditions in the surrounding landscapes to ensure the most appropriate restoration action is taken.
Why is Land Reclamation Important?
Land reclamation can have social, economic and environmental benefits.
Land is a valuable asset for plants, animals and microorganisms as well as for people. Areas of land that have been polluted or depleted can no longer support a diverse ecosystem, so greater pressure is put on surrounding habitats, and plants and wildlife are forced to compete in smaller areas. Returning the soil to full health can restore an ecosystem and provide habitats for rare and endangered species.
Decontamination of ex-industrial sites can remove health hazards and prevent the spread of pollution into neighboring land and water courses.
Land reclamation can also help to preserve historical landscapes, and provide places for community use, outdoor leisure activities and tourism, which in turn can provide jobs and boost the local economy.
How Can You Support Land Reclamation with Carbon Offsets?
By investing in a progressive carbon offset project, you can demonstrate your commitment to non-carbon environmental targets as well as greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
For example, a carbon offset reforestation project adds to the planet’s net carbon storage and helps moderate global warming by slowing the growth of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
At the same time, the reforestation of degraded land can improve biodiversity, enhance habitats for wildlife, improve air and water quality, provide soil filtration, control erosion, and prevent heat islands. Such projects also contribute toward reversing the trend of forest cover loss, improving wildlife corridors and creating additional recreation opportunities.
Progressive carbon offsets such as NativeEnergy’s HelpBuild projects are designed to deliver land reclamation benefits alongside carbon offsets – not just as a happy coincidence – to help companies meet non-carbon environmental goals as well as carbon reduction targets. Contact NativeEnergy now for more information about our Help Build projects.