A FORESTRY specialist has urged investors to buy land and trees rather than “artificial and intangible” carbon credits.

Jon Lambert has voiced concerns about separating credits from the carbon-sequestering trees that generated them and called for corporations, investors and individuals to buy – and take responsibility for – the land asset itself.

Advocating keeping the land, trees and credits together in one package, he said he had become increasingly concerned about the concept of separating carbon credits from land and the trees growing on it.

The partner of GOLDCREST Land & Forestry Group said: “While carbon credit trading is a useful offsetting tool, the long term ramifications of separating the credits have not been thought through. It might seem simple – and well-intentioned – but things are rarely as straightforward as they look.

“The carbon credit system has its place, but it is artificial and intangible. The focus is on the advantages of the immediate deal – money for the landowner, offsetting emissions for the purchaser – but it’s all very theoretical. I just want people to think about what they are actually being given.”

He added: “Corporations are spending millions buying certificates ‘off the shelf’ and take the credit for doing the right thing. However, they leave the responsibility with someone else and can kick up a stink when it goes wrong.

"The owner – and subsequent owners - is left with a management liability that in some cases stays with the land for a century. The land will be greatly reduced in value and become difficult to sell if that decision is ever made.

 “Think about the woodland owner facing a near total tree wipeout from a Storm Arwen-type event and then facing a hefty corporate compliance department questioning their carbon sequestration. What happens then?"

His warning came as he launched the sale of a 144-hectare broadleaved woodland in Ayrshire with 55,338 Pending Issuance Units (carbon credits given in advance of future carbon sequestration) included in the sale. The amenity woodland near Largs is for sale for offers over £2 million.

Forestry Journal: Jon believes landowners should be growing trees rather than taking advantage of carbon credits Jon believes landowners should be growing trees rather than taking advantage of carbon credits (Image: Supplied)

Jon said: “It is very unusual for a property to be sold with its PIUs, but I believe it would be much better practice to keep woodlands and the carbon credits they generate together and this is an excellent example. I hope we will start to see many more properties like this on the market.”

Managed by the Future Forest Company, which could be retained for ongoing maintenance of Brisbane Mains, more than 200,000 trees have been planted for carbon sequestration, the majority of them native birches, oaks, native shrubs and Scots pine. It was planted in 2021 with the aid of a Forestry Grant Scheme, which remains active until 2026 and will transfer to the purchaser.

CEO David Elliott said: “Brisbane Mains includes young and mature woodland, grasslands and peatland and is rich in biodiversity. The already abundant natural capital there will be amplified as it grows. It also offers considerable amenity value and is often visited by walkers and cyclists. The forest will continue to benefit people and we hope this sale will ensure its longevity.”

For further details please contact Goldcrest on 0131 378 6122 or visit www.goldcrestlfg.com.