Land reform to reverse the ecological emergency

Mandatory government buy outs of large farming estates to enable smaller scale farming, leased or community ownership to establish small scale organic farming. This would provide training and employment for many and high quality food for communities cutting down on overseas importation mileage. 



Why the contribution is important

Two years ago soil scientists estimated that we have 60 years left of viable soil in most areas of Europe. 

It has been proven that small scale organic farming with rotation and lighter tilling restores the biome and creates better yields after the first couple of years. This prevents the run off of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides into the rivers and then sea which is causing acidification. 
Deep ploughing causes huge rises in CO2 into the atmosphere in the spring as shown by NASA satellite images. 

The loss of biodiversity has never happened as such a rate. A 43% decline in insects since the 1960s globally.

And a 55% loss of farmland bird populations in UK farmland in the last three decades.

These figures are alarming and real. It cannot be ignored.

by Simon on October 24, 2020 at 08:50PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.8
Based on: 23 votes


  • Posted by urysteve20steve October 24, 2020 at 21:43

    Scotland has one of the least equitable land ownerships in Scotland due to a range of factors.

    Finding ways to return land to local communities would help with a range of climate emergency resilience solutions like local food growing.
  • Posted by MichaelFarrell October 24, 2020 at 22:08

    Scotland has been prevaricating about land reform for too long. Sorting this out is fundamental to both carbon sequestration and mitigation of the inevitable impacts of climate change as described above and in the previous comment.
  • Posted by Jbredski October 24, 2020 at 22:45

    1. Set aside a sizeable proportion of the country for true rewilding (not the same as national parks)
    2. Land tax reform to encourage the distribution of land away from large landowners to smaller landowners
    3. Ban on grouse hunting to free up high hills for rewilding
    4. Investigate the potential to grow more of our own food in Scotland eg through indoor growing of food normally imported to reduce carbon emitted in transport
    5. No more peat extraction
    6. Rapid end to oil extraction
  • Posted by lesliesoulfire October 25, 2020 at 08:06

    Strongly agree to all points by Jbredski
  • Posted by LouHastie October 25, 2020 at 08:59

    I love the approach taken in Ireland through the BRIDE project. This has an ecologist survey land and farm subsidies are linked to good practice/improvements. We have farmers in our family - who miss out on grants because they've already taken the ecological improvements being supported. I have heard gossip of people getting grants for "new woodlands" by felling old ones. We need positive action that can be implemented now, not linked to lengthy land reform. Also aren't some large landowners are buying land for Rewilding? - they don't need to farm it for livelihood.
  • Posted by SianMcKinnon October 25, 2020 at 19:51

    We have an inequitable land distribution. Most of Scotland is owned by a select few landowners, many of whom do not even live in Scotland. Ordinary people have no chance of owning land because it is too expensive and there is no land available for sale.

    We need to make our land as productive and as biodiverse and healthy as possible. We need to plant trees, rewild and improve our soils. We need to reconnect with the land, and to make the most of every acre we need people who want to go and live on the land, and look after it, and pay attention to what is happening and what is needed to get our land in the best possible shape in the future.

    There should be a maximum amount of land that any individual or corporation is allowed to own. Above that, the govt should be entitled to make a compulsory purchase of all excess land. This land could then be made available to individuals or corporations etc. who would apply to look after it. Individuals could have life long leases on the condition that they look after the land, and improve it, produce food on it, promote rewilding, reforest it or restore it. To improve soil quality and promote biodiversity. Communities could apply for land. People who wish to live a low carbon lifestyle should be helped and encouraged to do so.

    Why the contribution is important

    Land reform is essential if we are to move towards a more sustainable system, and support ourselves in the way people did centuries ago. We have so much technology which means we will be able to live on the land in a positive way, warm, well fed, within communities. It offers a chance to look after our land, improve the soils, rivers, seas and benefit from active lives, healthier diets and connected communities.
  • Posted by Nestleaver1 October 25, 2020 at 21:41

    Confiscate land that is not managed for maximum carbon storage and biodiversity. Rewild as much as possible.
  • Posted by nicpip October 25, 2020 at 23:08

    Land reform must be taken seriously. Scotland cannot remain a country which allow so much to be owned by so few, largely as shooting estates which encourage excessive numbers of deer and game birds at the expense of bio diversity. Furthermore a new generation of small scale eco friendly farmers and other rural workers have almost no possibility to establish a foothold.
  • Posted by Eviaries October 26, 2020 at 00:23

    Put an end to Sitka spruce plantations and similar monocultures. Scotland's Forestry Commission has been very damaging to the land, growing vast monocultures which are wide open to disease, such as phytophthera ramorum, which has killed all our private larch. The Forestry has felled it at speed, transporting it all around so they can sell the timber, while spreading the spores all over the rest of the land. Non-native monocultures of trees do not support biodiversity, allow soil erosion, don't hold water, and are often established on peat bogs or unimproved permanent pasture.
    Instead we should be allowing scrub and native trees to regenerate, as well as grassland, all of which hold the soil, filter and hold water, sequester carbon and promote biodiversity. Allow beavers to slow water flow, allow herbivores and ruminants to roam, give Nature space and time to recover.
  • Posted by clemenceoconnor October 26, 2020 at 01:59

    o Re-train farmers to de-intensify agriculture, end industrial animal farming. Re-direct farming subventions into that transition and correlate post-transition subventions to air, soil and water quality, biodiversity and habitat provision, tree planting, use of land as public amenity, and offer of training workshops, heritage / cultural events etc. To improve soils and reverse their currently adverse climate impact into a positive one, adopt organic soil standards, encourage crop rotation, permaculture and agro-forestry, restore insect and earth worm habitats. Create opportunities for new farmers with climate-smart projects. Diversify food production, processing and distribution, currently controlled by a handful of multinational corporations, into more local circuits to increase resilience and re-define how prices are set.
    o Protect wetlands and peat moors. Rewild and reforest 25% of the land to sequester carbon. Extend and protect urban green spaces, and democratise their planning and use. Legiferate on land ownership as necessary. Give councils new duties to create parks, urban green spaces, wildlife refuges and public amenities. Extend the right to roam in farmed areas and on grouse moorlands to encourage a sense of connection with, an accountability towards, the land.
  • Posted by TaraR October 26, 2020 at 14:46

    I agree with Jbredski on banning grouse hunting to fee up land for rewilding. Grouse hunting is an unecessary activity which only a tiny percentage of the population participate in and benefit from, but rewilding would benefit us all. Grouse moors are artificially managed in a way which is designed to maximise grouse numbers and which as a result leads to decreased biodiversity and possible risks of peat getting burnt. Instead, these areas of land could be rewilded to both allow greater biodiversity and to create more areas where trees can grow and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Posted by TaraR October 26, 2020 at 14:54

    One (maybe more) of the comments above highlights the need to protect peat moors/bogs. In order to do this, the Scottish Government should stop the plan to construct a space port on the Mhoine peninsula. The planned space port would risk releasing large amounts of stored carbon into the air by degrading the peat bogs where it is stored and damaging the moss which keeps it stored underground. The launching of space craft also risks setting fire to the peat, destroying areas of habitat and releasing even more carbon.
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