The Land Capability for Agriculture: building a tool to enable climate change assessments
The Land Capability for Agriculture (LCA) classification for Scotland has been used since the 1980’s to inform decision-making on land use management, planning and valuation. The risks and opportunities posed by climate change means we need to be able to understand how land capability may change in the future, and what this means in terms of developing adaptation responses, and policies that mitigate negative impacts and support opportunities. This report explores the potential for a new research tool to estimate land capability under future climatic conditions - the Land Capability of Scotland research platform. Based on the original LCA guidelines, the platform is a set of computing tools (not PC based) for data integration, calculation, analysis, mapping and visualisation allowing models to be run to estimate land capability constraints and generate digital maps. The Land Capability research platform is designed to be a ‘risk and opportunities assessment’ tool operated by researchers; the Land Capability of Scotland research platform does not replace the existing published LCA classifications. The platform has initially been developed to produce estimates of Land Capability for Agriculture (LCA) under different climate change projections and has further potential to support research on a broad range of land uses and benefits, such as forestry and ecosystem services.