Climate mitigation potential of large-scale nature restoration in Europe

This report, produced by the IEEP and commissioned by the WWF, explores the climate mitigation potential of restoring the habitats protected under the EU Habitats Directive. As part of this, the feasibility of ranking these habitats based on the climate mitigation benefits of their restoration is evaluated. Restoring habitats listed under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive has great potential to deliver important climate mitigation benefits as well as restore biodiversity. By improving the condition of habitats and re-establishing their carbon cycling abilities, restoration can increase the amount of carbon sequestered and stored by habitats and can avoid the emissions some ecosystems release when degraded. Overall, the analysis shows that although it is not currently feasible to give precise numerical estimates of the carbon benefits of Annex 1 habitat restoration, there is good evidence for the strong carbon sequestration potential of restoring key habitats, namely wetland and forest ecosystems. The restoration of the biodiversity value of the Annex I habitats should be the primary objective, in line with the aim of the EU Habitats Directive.