Work Package 2: Land management outcomes from land reform

Government objectives to shifting land use to address the overlapping challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainable food production, must be aligned with land governance objectives to succeed. This work package (WP) will assess the connections between existing, novel, and potential land tenure models and land management outcomes, linking to other topics in the RESAS programme including: food security; natural capital enhancement; agricultural, forestry, and upland sustainability; and sustainable rural development. The WP will facilitate new understandings of how best to use existing land reform policies to achieve more equitable and effective land use changes, as well as identify where future adjustments to land reform processes can better align with the Scottish Government’s land use vision. This WP will give insights as to how policy and societal levers can encourage and influence a progressive property rights approach to land management in Scotland. This is critical to the successful implementation of the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement.  

This WP will also consider the land management outcomes and achievement of policy objectives that arise from different models of land tenure, through a mixed methods approach and incorporating international examples. WP2 cross cuts with the Land Use Transformations project by understanding how land reform and land use policy can align to distribute broader public benefit and policy coherence. WP2 will also consider the alternative values placed on land under different tenure regimes. The project will build understanding of public values of land and assess the impact of changing landownership on public views and relationship with land.

This WP will involve:

  1. An extensive literature and policy review will define a conceptual framework/typology of what is meant by ‘land tenure models’, and therefore examine what could be considered alternative/potential to those that already exist or are predominant in Scotland; (Year 1)
  2. Multi-scale case studies will examine the fit between current land reform legislative pathways and wider Scottish Government policy goals (i.e. including supporting local governance, net zero carbon, food security, and post-Covid recovery); (Years 2 - 3)
  3. Case studies of models of community access to and use of land, in the UK and internationally, considering change over time to place-based communities, regions, and wider public interest. The case studies will include learning from community landowners who have bought land through negotiated sale, or who have been unsuccessful at acquisitions through this route; (Years 2 - 3)
  4. A literature review, questionnaire, and case studies that will enhance understanding of the impact of land reform on 'new' values of land; (Years 1 - 5)
  5. A desk-based study and interviews will seek to understand who is involved and how decisions about land management relating to biodiversity are made, and the interaction between land tenure and biodiversity outcomes. (Year 2)