Selecting land-based mitigation practices to reduce GHG emissions from the rural land use sector: A case study of North East Scotland

Diana Feliciano*, Colin Hunter, Bill Slee, Pete Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 commits Scotland to reduce GHG emissions by at least 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, from 1990 levels. According to the Climate Change Delivery Plan, the desired emission reduction for the rural land use sector (agriculture and other land uses) is 21% compared to 1990, or 10% compared to 2006 levels. In 2006, in North East Scotland, gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rural land uses were about 1599 ktCO(2)e. Thus, to achieve a 10% reduction in 2020 relative to 2006, emissions would have to decrease to about 1440 ktCO(2)e. This study developed a methodology to help selecting land-based practices to mitigate GHG emissions at the regional level. The main criterion used was the "full" mitigation potential of each practice. A mix of methods was used to undertake this study, namely a literature review and quantitative estimates. The mitigation practice that offered greatest "full" mitigation potential (approximate to 66% reduction by 2020 relative to 2006) was woodland planting with Sitka spruce. Several barriers, such as economic, social, political and institutional, affect the uptake of mitigation practices in the region. Consequently the achieved mitigation potential of a practice may be lower than its "full" mitigation potential. Surveys and focus groups, with relevant stakeholders, need to be undertaken to assess the real area where mitigation practices can be implemented and the best way to overcome the barriers for their implementation. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date19 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2013


  • GHG emissions
  • mitigation practices
  • "Full" mitigation potential
  • implementation barriers
  • North East Scotland
  • greenhouse-gas mitigation
  • carbon sequestration
  • European soils
  • agricultural land
  • options
  • UK


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