The role of property, ownership and land tenure on landscape decision-making

"Tackling the climate and biodiversity crises with transformative farming and technological innovations"
Land tenure, land access...

The case of Scotland’s ‘low carbon farming’ policies

We are delighted that Adam Calo has been awarded a Landscape Decisions Fellowship as part of a new programme funded by UKRI-NERC.

The Landscape Decisions Program aims to create a new evidence base for improved decision making across UK landscapes, but who has the power to make decisions on the land?

Answering this question requires engagement with issues of property, land tenure and the many informal interactions that create agency in landscape decision-making.

Land tenure, or the legal, cultural and informal rules that distribute access to land’s assets, has a powerful effect in shaping what proposed decisions appear wise, possible or futile. While it may be possible to understand and predict the impact of landscape level changes, a landscape is fragmented by many properties, land owning entities and land tenure systems.

Negotiating this fragmentation of land tenure complicates and deepens landscape science.

Adam aims to achieve two goals through his Fellowship:

1. To stimulate thinking on the role of land tenure relations across the variety of the Programme’s projects, supporting the goal of a holistic approach to landscape decision-making.

This has important implications for what land use decisions are likely to be carried out, who is likely to be targeted for land use policy interventions, and who might be left out of such efforts.

2. To understand how distinct tenure regimes in Scotland interact with the forthcoming low carbon farming initiatives as part of the net zero 2045 target.

Recently, the Scottish government announced a £40 million Agricultural Transformation Programme, an effort to ramp up climate change mitigation in the agricultural sector. Given this policy objective, Adam's work will explore how land tenure influences the adoption, rejection, or contestation of the low-carbon farming framework.

Adam will conduct research across a variety of agricultural land tenure regimes, each considering how they might meet this mandate of mitigating emissions through agricultural practices.

For any inquiries, please contact Adam Calo.