Area (thousand hectares)
Agricultural land use has a strong influence on the landscape and environment of Scotland. In particular, changes in agricultural land use have an impact on wildlife habitats, water pollution, and emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Between 1982 and 2011, the total land used for agriculture in Scotland decreased by around 3%. There was a small increase in the total land used for agriculture between 2007 and 2008, to 6,240,400 hectares, resulting in the highest total land used for agriculture since 1988. After the introduction of the Single Application Form data in 2009, this decreased to 6,176,800 hectares. In 2010 there was an increase to 6,227,100 hectares, followed by a decrease in 2011 to 6,208,500 hectares. In 2008, the area of woodland and other land was over three times what it was in 1982, increasing from 114,000 hectares in 1982 to 392,000 hectares in 2008. There is a step change in the land use data series in 2009, due to a switch in data source. This has led to some substitution between rough grazing and grass, therefore post 2009 data is not comparable to previous years and trends should be treated with caution.
The amount of land set-aside was recorded separately between 1993 and 2008. Trends have reflected changes in the European Union compulsory set-aside rate. There was a decrease in set-aside land from 90,000 ha in 2003 to 69,000 ha in 2005, before dropping to 18,000 ha in 2008, reflecting a 0 per cent compulsory set-aside rate. Set aside payments entitlements under the Single Farm Payments ceased in 2009.
Email: Sandy McPhee
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