Rural Exchange

New Project to map landowners in Scotland

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New Project to map landowners in Scotland

A new study by researchers at Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), explores the influence of financial support mechanisms on land values, particularly the recent interest in carbon schemes.

Landownership is a key policy area for the Scottish Government and the findings of the research will provide an evidence base for understanding the effects increased land values are having on its goals to improve transparency of landownership.

It will also help ensure large scale land holdings deliver in the public interest and empower communities by providing more opportunities to own land and have more say in how land in their area is used.

The researchers developed a methodology to determine if there is a relationship between landownership and land use decisions - such as continuation on the same path or diversification - and monetary flows into the land, and whether these are affected by a recent sale.

As part of an ongoing study, they compiled a map representing landownership, recent sales, monetary flows and land use/ land cover and applied this to a small area of the Spey catchment.

Parallel to the mapping work, they also created a landownership typology which categorises individual parcels of land according to size, ownership, land use types (farm/forest/estate), size descriptor and any defining characteristics, which was also applied to the case study area. Multiple data sources were then used to map monetary flows.

Having developed a working tool for mapping landownership and recent sale transactions, the researchers now plan to apply this to three further sites across Scotland: Tweed catchment; Shetland Islands and Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve, in addition to the Spey catchment.

Co-author Ian Merrell said: "Spatially mapping landownership and recent sale transactions of land is complex and arduous. Despite these issues, we still managed to create a working methodology for mapping landownership using Registers of Scotland data, and successfully integrated this with multiple other data sources.

"Through this process we have developed a tool that is (once the landownership level is complete) fully automated and can produce useful maps and descriptors of any piece of land in Scotland, so long as ownership is known."

You can read the report in full here: Mapping Scottish Landownership.

You can also read a short policy note on Spatial Data Requirements for Land-Based Policy Objectives developed in conjunction with the James Hutton Institute, also available on the SEFARI website.

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