The Aberdeenshire Regional Land Use Pilot

Project description: 

The Aberdeenshire Land Use Strategy Pilot ran from 2013-2015 and was a Scottish Government funded project focussing on issues of rural land use change. The Pilot aimed to: consider land use in an integrated way; guide decisions to optimise land use; and create an online tool to inform decisions about competing or conflicting land uses. The online mapping tool was developed, focussing specifically on woodland creation in Aberdeenshire in relation to six possible policy priorities: woodland expansion; prime land protection; reducing flood risk; improving water quality; woodland and landscape character; woodland and public access. The ecosystem services considered are: sediment export; carbon storage; and nitrogen retention. The tool allows users to map their own policy priorities and objectives and see how this effects ecosystem service provision. The tool can help planners to identify areas where land use change could deliver multiple benefits, and to explore the consequences of pursuing different policy goals.

Organisations involved: 

Aberdeenshire Council, James Hutton Institute

Scale of project: 
Aberdeenshire local authority area; Two local fous areas: the Upper Dee, and the Huntly area
Total area covered by project: 
6300 (sq. km)
What ecosystem service classification was used?: 

Project specific. The provision of 3 priority ecosystem services were mapped: sediment export; carbon storage; nitrogen retention

Which ecosystem services were focused on?: 

  • Crops, livestock, fish
  • Trees, standing vegetation, peat
  • Carbon sequestration & storage
  • Climate regulation
  • Erosion control
  • Hazard regulation
Habitats mapped for ecosystem services: 
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Mountains, moors and heaths
Baseline data: 
Biological monitoring data
Habitat or land cover
Land use data
Protected or designated areas data
Rivers data
Contact name: 
James Davidson
Contact job title: 
Project Officer
Aberdeenshire Council
Aberdeenshire Council Headquarters, Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5GB
01224 664221