KTIF (Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund)_Innovation Projects_Internal Call_Projects to be delivered & complete by 31/3/23.

Project Details


This project seeks to develop a representative farmer group that will estimate their farm carbon stock using soil testing and LiDAR surveys. This approach will help Scottish farmers to improve estimates of carbon stored on farm and thus improve farming and farmers understanding of base carbon storage, pointing towards quantifying the impacts of certain agricultural management practices. The farms and farmers will be from 5 of the main farming systems in Scotland - Upland Beef and Sheep, Lowland Beef and Sheep, Dairy, Arable and Crofting - these systems account for nearly 90% of Scottish agricultural land use and therefore the project reach is expected to be significant.

Farmers are becoming increasingly aware of their need to contribute to the ambition of achieving net zero and there is a growing interest in the carbon dynamics of land use. The estimated carbon stocks from this project will help to deliver a better understanding of the impact of certain management strategies on carbon sequestration. As Scotland moves quickly towards a low carbon economy and net zero by 2045, both agriculture and land use have a significant amount of work to do in reducing emissions while also helping to sequester more carbon dioxide. Farmers regularly refer to their continued and historic stewardship of land in terms of trees, hedges, and soils as a positive contribution to the biodiversity and climate change this project will help to increase understanding of this contribution.

Accurate measurement and mapping of the above-ground biomass and soil organic carbon is a critical component of carbon stock quantification. This -innovative approach will use technology to estimate soil carbon stocks on the 5 Carbon Storage Network farms. Using a drone mounted LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor to develop a reliable estimation of above ground carbon storage in hedges and trees alongside estimated soil organic carbon stocks.

This project facilitates access to emerging technology and allows us to develop a more robust measure for carbon storage on Scotland's farms, based on research work from across the UK, the use of LiDAR as a means of measuring above ground biomass has revolutionised the potential for advancement in this area. In terms of soil carbon, it is still a more complex picture, however new research is regularly improving our knowledge on how to robustly quantify soil carbon stocks.

An example of soil carbon storage on each of the different farm systems will be provided to help the wider industry understand their own potential carbon storage. The combination of above ground biomass and soil carbon will deliver a robust estimate of farm carbon stocks. This approach has been taken in the past CAFRE, Arc Zero in Northern Ireland and Teagasc in the Republic of Ireland have had similar projects. These projects were predominantly research focused where this project will seek to utilise the innovative technology to inform and support the Scottish agricultural sectors move to a low carbon future. It would be the first of its kind in Scotland covering a diversity of different but predominant farming systems in the country.

The baseline carbon stock from the farms within the Carbon Storage Network could support future projects where carbon sequestration from different management practices can be estimated, including rotational grazing, cover cropping, integration of livestock, hedge planting and minimum tillage.

Should this bid be successful, this work will support the development of phase 2 of the project where carbon sequestration will be estimated from management changes within the Carbon Storage Network.
Short titleLiDAR Farm Carbon Storage
StatusNot started


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