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Additionality and Permanence

Additionality and Permanence

Woodlands created to capture carbon must follow a set of principles enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol. Assurance that your carbon credits will deliver real environmental benefit comes only from strict adherence to those principles. The main two are 'additionality' and 'permanence'.


The most important principle of all is that you are able to demonstrate that, without the intervention of the carbon credit buyer, the carbon reduction or carbon capture activity could not have gone ahead. In the case of our woodland projects this means we can show that without the intervention of Forest Carbon and its partners the trees wouldn't be there.

The question of whether or not a proposed project can go ahead without carbon investment is tested stringently under the Woodland Carbon Code, which looks at financial barriers, legal barriers and behavioural barriers.


If one chilly morning you make a 'green' decision to wear more woollies and turn off the heating then the CO2 emissions you've just avoided have been avoided forever. The official Kyoto term for this is 'permanently avoided'.

With carbon woodlands the CO2 is not 'permanently avoided'. Instead, it is 'permanently locked up' - in the wood and soil of a forest that ultimately settles into a state of dynamic equilibrium around a long term average carbon store. As 'permanent reservoirs' the trees are (1) self-regenerating and managed to ensure the permanent presence of the right number of trees on the site; (2) replanted if lost for any reason - this is a requirement under UK law, where woodland creation is presumed to be a permanent land use change, and also written into our contracts with landowners. Lastly, the Woodland Carbon Code's extremely conservative carbon calculation methodology provides a generous safety margin that mitigates against potential set-back such as slower-than-expected growth or disease.

Where our
projects are

Forest Carbon leads the way in developing woodland creation and peatland restoration projects for carbon capture and ecosystem services in the UK. We have planted over 10.3 million new trees in 220+ new woodlands since 2006 with our partners removing over 2.1 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, as well as providing a host of other benefits to society, including habitat creation, biodiversity support, flood mitigation, river ecosystem improvement and public access.

Our new woodland schemes spread across Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. They are certified by the Woodland Carbon Code – which is supported by the UK government and internationally recognised by ICROA. Planting the ‘right tree in the right place’ is required though adherence to the Forestry Commission standards.

Our peatland schemes can be found in Scotland and Wales. They are certified by the Peatland Code which is supported by the IUCN. These certification codes assure the additionality and permanence of each tonne of carbon stored.

Outside of the UK our partners have offset a further 1 million tonnes CO2 and protected or planted in excess of 3 million trees. 

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