Section 2 – Achieving the objectives: getting the best from our land
Our land and the natural capital it supports and provides has a critical role in providing solutions to both the climate and biodiversity crises, but doing so will require major changes in the way we use and manage land.
In order to achieve net-zero emissions, we know we need to greatly increase both tree cover and the area of restored peatland across Scotland. Our lives and livelihoods, however, also depend on healthy ecosystems, and land will be needed to deliver targeted action to protect, restore and enhance species and habitats to halt the loss of biodiversity in Scotland.
Similarly, land is needed to provide the foundations to nature based solutions to issues such as flood risk management, good water quality and supply, air quality and preventing soil erosion. Our wild landscapes and stunning scenery are also the basis for much of Scotland’s tourism industry and support our health and wellbeing (the benefits of access to green spaces has been highlighted during this pandemic).
Land will continue to be required for agriculture, underpinning sustainable and high quality food production in Scotland, both for domestic consumption and export, and non-food crops such as biofuels. Land is also essential for renewable energy generation (for example through onshore wind farms), national infrastructure (such as for sustainable travel) and low-carbon affordable housing.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more benefits and ways we rely on Scotland’s land. But it makes clear the multiple demands we make on a finite resource and the pressure this puts on our land.
Balancing these demands requires action and tough choices from us all: it is not something the Scottish Government can do alone, nor do we do hold all the answers. In order to deliver a sustainable future we will need input, collaboration and action from people all across Scotland.
Q5: Before reading this document were you aware of the pressures on our land?
A) Strongly aware of all pressures on our land
B) Aware of many of the pressures on our land
C) Knew land was needed for some things
D) Not aware of the extent we need our land
E) Completely unaware of the importance of our land
Q6: Are you aware of ways people can get involved in land use matters within your local area?
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