Carbon crediting and land offsets for biodiversity protection have been developed to tackle the challenges of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of global biodiversity. Unfortunately, these two mechanisms are not optimal when considered separately. Focusing solely on carbon capture—the primary goal of most carbon-focused crediting and offsetting commitments—often results in the establishment of non-native, fast-growing monocultures that negatively affect biodiversity and soil-related ecosystem services. Soil contributes a vast proportion of global biodiversity and contains traces of aboveground organisms. Here, we outline a carbon and biodiversity co-crediting scheme based on the multi-kingdom molecular and carbon analyses of soil samples, along with remote sensing estimation of aboveground carbon as well as video and acoustic analyses-based monitoring of aboveground macroorganisms. Combined, such a co-crediting scheme could help halt biodiversity loss by incentivising industry and governments to account for biodiversity in carbon sequestration projects more rigorously, explicitly and equitably than they currently do. In most cases, this would help prioritise protection before restoration and help promote more socially and environmentally sustainable land stewardship towards a ‘nature positive’ future.

Tedersoo, L.,  Sepping, J.,  Morgunov, A. S.,  Kiik, M.,  Esop, K.,  Rosenvald, R.,  Hardwick, K.,  Breman, E., Purdon, R.,  Groom, B.,  Venmans, F.,  Kiers, E. T., &  Antonelli, A. (2023).  Towards a co-crediting system for carbon and biodiversity. Plants, People, Planet,  1–11.

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