We love curiosity almost as much as trees. Ask us anything and we're happy to give the breakdown.

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Why a Carbon Community?

The Carbon Community fills the gap between trees and science and people. Many people want to help combat the climate emergency, and planting trees is arguably the best nature-based solution there is today. But which trees to plant, and how, in order to maximize carbon removal from the air?
This is where the science comes in – The Carbon Community is dedicated to creating forests and accelerating carbon removal, with breakthrough science. Its planting and restoration projects are designed, in partnership with world leading scientists, to learn more about how to accelerate and enhance carbon sequestration. It is committed to sharing its findings as widely as possible to increase carbon sequestration in its own projects and beyond.

But in order to really make an impact, we also need to involve communities because fundamentally we all need to change our behaviour and reduce our CO2 emissions. The Carbon Community helps to educate young people about environmental issues, enables people to get involved in tree planting, and runs Citizen Science programmes where you can contribute personally to the scientific research into carbon sequestration in trees and soil.
Why a science-based charity?

The Carbon community started by asking a simple question: ‘How do you plant trees to maximize carbon recovery from the air?’ It turned out that the answer is not simple – in discussion with leading environmental scientists it became clear that we don’t really know the answer.

It also became clear that environmental scientists have carbon sequestration projects running successfully in the lab, but there’s great difficulty in scaling these up with field trials. There is a chronic shortage of test sites where environmental scientists can run field trials, without which promising techniques languish in the lab, and don’t get deployed at scale.

As a result, the Carbon Community created a facility at The Glandwr Forest to enable environmental scientists to test out the latest science on a large scale. This test grid comprises 72 test cells across a 28-acre part of the Glandwr Forest containing more than 25,000 trees. This is by far the largest and most comprehensive carbon sequestration study in the UK, and of global significance. From discussions with scientists for forest researchers, we expect this facility to be used for many scientific studies for decades to come. Much of environmental science relies on consistent, careful measurements over time, and the charity structure ensures that this facility will be there for generations to come.

What is Carbon Community Trading Limited?

Carbon Community Trading Limited (Company Number 12973020) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Carbon Community. Many charities have trading companies because certain charities are required to charge VAT on some charitable activities – for example the sale of memberships, merchandise or admission fees as a way of raising money for the charity. More details can be found here www.gov.uk

Carbon Community Trading was established in 2020 for this purpose. As revenue streams are established, VAT will be charged on these activities and all future profits from these activities will go to The Carbon Community (Registered Charity 1187231).

Are you part of the Woodland Carbon Code scheme?

The Carbon Community is in the process of submitting information to The Woodland Carbon Code for validation as this is the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK. The Carbon Community is focused on breakthrough scientific research to maximize carbon sequestration in trees and soil.

Does the Carbon Community provide ofsetting??

No. The Carbon Community is focused on breakthrough scientific research to maximize carbon sequestration in trees and soil. The Carbon Community has not sold any carbon credits / carbon offsets. We also do not include a carbon calculator on our website. For more on our philosophy on offsetting this blog is a useful backgrounder.

Is The Carbon Community a charity?

Yes. The Carbon Community is a UK Registered Charity number 1187231 and formed as a charitable company limited by guarantee, registration number 12273280. A charitable company limited by guarantee is a very common charitable structure. See this for more details on www.gov.uk

The purpose of the Charity is:

1. to conserve, improve and protect the physical and natural environment for the public benefit by:
1. the creation, promotion and sustainable management of new community forests specifically optimized for maximum carbon sequestration in trees and soil;

2. providing individuals, communities, businesses and other organizations with opportunities to participate in sustainable carbon sequestration projects; and

3. such other means as the Trustee may from time to time decide; and
2. to advance the education of the public in the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation of the environment, in particular but not exclusively in relation to forestation as a means of carbon sequestration, and to promote study and research in such subjects and dissemination of the results of such research and study to the public.

Why is a charity structure so important?

We are a Charity dedicated to creating forests, removing carbon from the atmosphere and supporting breakthrough science. In a charity, assets are locked into the charitable structure, and can only be used for the public benefit, and specifically cannot be used for commercial purposes. This is especially important for scientific research because it enmables us to focus on the big problems and questions that commercial companies wouldn't tackle.
Trees will take a minimum 35 years to reach adolescence, and the charity structure ensures that the carbon sequestration scientific project will always be a facility that scientists can use for research from the moment of planting through to maturity and beyond.  By contrast, commercial companies have a duty to maximize shareholder return, leading to conflicts of interest - maximizing shareholder returns may not be in the best interests of the environment. The Carbon Community has been established in such a way so that these conflicts of interest cannot arise: the mission is solely focused on doing what is best for the environment and for the public benefit.

Can you really accelerate carbon sequestration?

We believe that the latest science will allow us to accelerate carbon sequestration. The Carbon Community is working with some of the world's leading environmental scientists on our landmark carbon sequestration project to better understand carbon sequestration in trees and soil.
We are applying scientific techniques that are proven to increase carbon sequestration in the laboratory but not yet proven at scale in real world applications. These techniques are 100% natural: what kind of trees, how they are planted and nurtured, especially in the first critical years of their lives. Our goal is to harness this knowledge to maximize carbon sequestration for all trees everywhere.

Which type of trees sequester the most carbon?

Faster growing trees sequester more carbon above ground more quickly over the short term, but this is a surprisingly complex question. The simplistic answer is that 80% of a tree's mass is carbon, and therefore, faster growing trees sequester more carbon because they grow faster. Click to learn more about the complexity of how tree type affects carbon capture ability.
Common UK tree types are compared in the table below, which shows carbon sequestered (in tonnes of CO2 equivalent per hectare) over time shown in years (five year increments):
Source: The Carbon Community, based on data from Forest Research (part of the UK Forestry Commission).
This would tend to lead you to conclude that spruce trees sequester carbon faster than any other tree. Sitka Spruce, for example, sequesters up to 60% more carbon compared with an oak tree in the early years, but the oak tree begins to catch up over time, and the oak can last for 1,000 years, locking carbon away for many lifetimes.

This also only looks at what is happening with carbon above ground. In mature forests, 78% of the stored carbon is held in the soil, and the sequestration rates in the official Forest Research tables only give a nod to soil carbon. This is an area that The Carbon Community is currently researching to scientifically measure carbon sequestration in both tree and soil.

We also need to consider biodiversity - planting mono cultures (large blocks of one species of tree) do little to help all of the other inhabitants of a healthy forest, such as fungi, bacteria, protozoa, arthropods, earthworms and small mammals that all contribute to forest growth and the complex process of breaking down organic matter into humus and capturing carbon in the process. Birds and insects also help to pollinate trees and help the forest to grow faster.
Learn about the carbon cycle

What types of tree does The Carbon Community plant?

Our aim at The Carbon Community is to plant the best mix of trees for a given location to maximize carbon sequestration and promote biodiversity. Our focus is on native broadleaf species including fast growing birch, aspen, rowan, and cherry; as well as slower growing species such as oak and beech.
​In practice this means that we will plant different mixes of tree types in different locations. The key consideration is to plant a site-appropriate mixture which is likely to be more resilient to pests and diseases, focused on carbon sequestration and biodiversity.

Does The Carbon Community own the land on which it plants trees?

The Carbon Community creates new forests on its own land. ​By owning our own land, safely locked into the charity structure for generations to come, we ensure that the trees that we plant will always be there, sequestering carbon.
This is important because it guarantees that the land cannot be used for other purposes in the future, or sold on. If we were to plant on other people's land, there would always be the risk that at some point in the future the land is sold, and the trees cut down. However, if you are a landowner, and you have land that you'd like to use for carbon sequestration, please contact us and we will be happy to explore models that could work.

How does The Carbon Community work with companies?

The Carbon Community looks to work with like-minded organisations. Organisations who have clear time-bound climate goals to significantly reduce their emissions in line with science-based targets. Corporate supporters provide financial support for our scientific research into carbon sequestration in trees & soil – it takes a special kind of company to be willing to donate in support of scientific research.

What is The Carbon Community’s relationship with SAP?

One of The Carbon Community’s donors is SAP which has provided £75,000 to support The Carbon Community’s research into carbon sequestration in trees and soil. In addition, some SAP UK employees have made personal donations to plant trees. These trees are planted in a section of Glandwr Forest called “SAP Forest UK.” The Carbon Community has not sold carbon credits to SAP. SAP does not have any ownership in The Carbon Community, or any relationship other than as a donor and supporter of the charity.