Drones take carbon project to next level

environmental specialists use a drone to estimate carbon storage on Tiree, Scotland

Environmental specialists use a drone to estimate carbon storage on Tiree

High-tech drones are being deployed across Scotland as part of an innovative project to estimate the carbon stored on the country’s farms.

Environmental specialists at SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), are using drone-mounted LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors to estimate above-ground carbon storage in hedges and trees.

Combined with laboratory soil analysis, the project will deliver an estimate of farm carbon stocks as part of the drive towards net zero.

The sites comprising Scotland’s first Farm Carbon Storage Network represent five of the country’s main farming systems: upland beef and sheep, sheep, dairy, arable and crofting, which together account for nearly 90 per cent of agricultural land use.

It is hoped data from the project, which has received money from the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), could support future projects where carbon sequestration from different management practices can be estimated, including rotational grazing, cover cropping, integration of livestock, hedge planting and minimum tillage.

Seamus Murphy from SAC Consulting said: “While we all understand that trees, hedges, and soils on farms make a positive contribution to climate change mitigation, this project will give us a greater understanding of the scale of this contribution.

“By improving estimates of carbon stored on farm and improving our understanding of base carbon storage, it will help to support work to quantify the impacts of certain agricultural management practices.”

To find out more about the project, visit 

Posted by SRUC on 06/12/2022

Tags: Agriculture, SAC Consulting
Categories: Consulting and Commercial | Sustainability