A total of 80,000ha of grasslands on drained organic soils will be targeted for reduced management intensity, or rewetting, in the Climate Action Plan.

The plan states that reduced management intensity is “water table management” of the 80,000ha of land which are “drained, agricultural, managed, carbon-rich soils”.

It says this action offers significant potential for reducing carbon emissions from the land use sector.

“However, the willingness of farmers to rewet their land if incentives were offered is difficult to predict as the level of farming intensity that can be sustained post-reduced management intensity is farm and site specific,” it concedes.

A further 450,000ha of grassland on mineral soils is targeted for carbon sequestration. Improved practices include increased time to reseeding; expanding legumes in the pasture sward (including clover and multispecies swards); avoiding compaction; and long-term pasture management plans.

Ecosystem services

Ecosystem restoration and conservation is to be promoted through a “payment for ecosystem services”.

There is also to be investment in actions that increase carbon sinks while promoting biodiversity, such as woodlands, bogs, soil management and hedgerows. The country’s Natura 2000 network, designated land, is to be strengthened by providing “increased capacity for the enforcement of habitat regulations”.

All of these actions fall under the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) chapter of the plan.