Terrestrial carbon (including trees, soil, and peat) is a critical untapped element that could provide between 25% and 50% of the cost-effective response to climate change, especially in the short- to medium-term. The immediate and ongoing effective reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is essential, but should be the first step on the path to a more holistic approach to terrestrial carbon that fully captures the necessary scale of mitigation options.

The Terrestrial Carbon Group is an international group of specialists from science, economics, and public policy with expertise in land management, climate change and markets.

Our objective is for terrestrial carbon to be effectively included in the international response to climate change. Our paper, How to Include Terrestrial Carbon in Developing Nations in the Overall Climate Change Solution, provides both guiding principles and a possible specific solution for how this can be done.

The Terrestrial Carbon Group is working to determine, support and guide the actions that are required immediately, between now and 2013, and in the period beyond 2013, to show how the ultimate aim of a holistic approach to terrestrial carbon can be realised. Please contact us for further information.



Guiding Principles for Effective Action on Terrestrial Carbon


  • 1. Maximise long-term terrestrial carbon volumes 


     2. Maintain existing terrestrial carbon and create new terrestrial carbon




    3. Include all types of terrestrial carbon (using a phased approach starting with carbon and CO2 in peatlands, forest, and lands that can become secondary forest)

    4. Use a mix of complementary approaches (market and non-market, public and private)

    5. Take action on terrestrial carbon in addition to, not in substitution for, deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from all other sources across the world

    6. Recognise sovereignty over land management

    7. Build appropriate national and international institutions

    8. Avoid perverse outcomes

    9. Adapt to best available information