The National:

This week's edition of In Common comes from Amanda Burgauer, the director of Common Weal. You can receive the newsletter every Thursday straight in your inbox by clicking here.

THIS week in Parliament the Revive coalition held a reception to mark a significant change in Scottish land management as the grouse moor reform Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill passes through the Scottish Parliament. But we see this as the beginning, not the end.

This issue – Scotland's land – is pulling diverse interests together in a desire to change Scotland.

We intend to keep going. It’s encouraging to see legislation being created that addresses grouse moors, muirburn and the immorality of "killing to kill", the annual business of killing tens of thousands of wild animals to maximise the number of grouse in a grouse moor so they too can be killed.

Large swathes of Scotland are barren, over-grazed and with little biodiversity. Grouse moors and muirburn contribute enormously to that.

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The forest and woodland cover in Scotland sits around 18.5%, well below the European average of 38%.

The hillsides, that in other European countries would be forested, are bare and scarred by tracks and often difficult for the public to access.

The National: Grouse shooting.

Yet we hear grouse shooting brings economic benefit to rural communities, including the small payments to locals for casual work as beaters although the small amounts of income that trickle down to the beaters aren’t enough to create a sustainable life – and other jobs are often scarce.

We know that planting trees is a good thing – for carbon capture, to assist in flood defence, to promote increases in biodiversity and frankly to make our countryside feel healthier, more alive and more beautiful. But reforesting is also an enormous opportunity to create rural jobs and new rural industries.

We can replace much of the 80 per cent of our construction materials that we currently import, develop important materials needed for the retrofitting of our existing houses (particularly organic insulation products), create diverse materials industries (everything from bioplastics to fabric) and create the secondary manufacturing jobs that those materials can stimulate.

But only if the leaders of these new industries can get access to land and only if we can find people to work in these new industries.

That isn't where we are just now.

We’re losing our rural workforce because of a lack of housing. And the reason we have such a problem with rural housing is lack of land and lack of a strong enough rural economy. And the reason we have a weak rural economy is because it is cut off from the land it is based in.

The advanced technologies that can be created based on wood and other biocrops is impressive – the world's tallest wood-only skyscraper (so-called plyscrapers) is 26 floors high and there are taller ones planned.

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The world is moving ahead, but Scotland is still stuck because a tiny number of powerful landowners block communities from expanding.

It's all connected.

None of the problems that face Scotland (especially rural Scotland) can be tackled in isolation. That so many of these problems are directly influenced by Scotland's deeply unhealthy relationship to its own land is infuriating.

Our land is a natural resource that is essential to the wellbeing of Scotland’s people and its economy. It’s not normal for fewer than 500 people to control a country’s land and how it is managed.

The National: Blairadam Forest. Photo: Forestry and Land Scotland.

In fact, we're the only developed economy in the world who has a system of land ownership anything like it.

We are in a cost-of-living crisis where people are so worried about their electricity bills, they are scared to turn on their heating. We have a housing crisis, where people are hard-pressed to find affordable homes.

We are experiencing climate impacts such as the devastating recent storms and floods that put communities at risk.

We have health and education systems that are struggling in a dreadfully centralised nation.

Energy? That's about land too. Food? Land. Flood mitigation? That's a land policy. Health? Energy, food and the benefits of exercise and being outdoors make an enormous difference. Democracy? That's about control over the places where we live – our land.

Do you see how many different issues which are crucial challenges for our nation lead us back to land?

And can you then see just how important land reform is to the social, environmental, and economic change we need to bring about in Scotland?

Last month the Revive coalition held a conference in Perth.

Seven hundred people attended. Probably fewer than a fifth of them were there solely or primarily for animal welfare reasons.

Others were worried about climate change. Some were angry about lack of local democracy. More were drive by social justice. Some just sense that 'something is wrong with our countryside' and wanted to know what to do about it.

A family member who came along, generally uninterested in grouse moors, left as a committed land reformer.

That is why this issue is so important and why next year Common Weal and the REVIVE coalition will focus on achieving serious land reform.

Land reform that has been promised for hundreds of years but somehow never happens. We intend to make sure that this time, change is real.