Brendan Smith urges inclusion of hedgerows and scrubland for carbon sequestration purposes

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has called for the urgent inclusion of hedgerows and scrubland in the inventory of what can be classified as forest cover to count towards the country’s carbon credit count.

Following a question to the Minister for Agriculture in the Dáil last week, Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I believe that all small-scale planting and all small blocks of scrub should be measured and included in the inventory of forest cover. This would aid the country in its credit carbon count.

“Not only do our hedgerows contribute to the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere but they are also vital as a habitat for wildlife, a resource for biodiversity and a unique heritage feature that must be managed and protected. Another important aspect of hedgerows is their sustainability.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “According to the Minister, Teagasc are undertaking a research project called “Farm-Carbon – Farm Hedgerows and Non-forest Woodland Carbon”. The overall objective of this project is to ‘advance the understanding of the contribution of hedgerows and non-forest woodland to carbon stocks in agricultural landscapes, and to identify approaches to maintain and enhance this contribution’. It is hoped that the final results will provide the necessary data required for the inclusion of hedgerows in the national inventory calculations.”

At present, hedgerows are not considered forest and they are not currently included as part of the land use sector for national greenhouse gas reporting purposes.