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Innovative research into carbon sequestration gets funding

Evening flood plains of river Thames near Oxford

An OU research partnership which will enable research into carbon sequestration - the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide - has received funding.

The OU’s Floodplain Meadows Partnership has won a substantial grant from Ecover to help restore and protect 50 hectares of floodplain meadows along the banks of the River Thames in Oxfordshire and gather enough evidence to show that floodplain meadows are an effective, resilient and long-term natural carbon store.

The team includes scientists from the OU and partners; Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and Long Mead’s Thames Valley Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project, which will work with local landowners to restore one of the most important areas for floodplain meadows in the country.

Emma Rothero, Floodplain Meadows Partnership Manager in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, says, in addition to the restoration work, the funding will enable the partnership to carry out important soil analysis:

“We will be collecting the first UK-based dataset of soil carbon for floodplain meadows, which will be really important in evidencing why the restoration of species rich grasslands should be treated with the same urgency as restoration of peat and woodlands. It will also be used to encourage and advise other farmers and land managers. We’ll be sharing this information not just in this country, but with our partners in Germany and beyond.”

David Gowing, Professor of Botany and Project Director of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership at the OU said:

“Floodplain meadows stretch back a thousand years and were once the backbone of the rural economy in England. Now over 97% of these habitats have been lost. With Ecover and our partners, we will provide evidence of the value of functioning meadows and continue advocating for floodplain restoration as a vital tool in tackling the climate emergency.”

Find out more about OU research in the Faculty of Science, Technology and Mathematics

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