Using lottery money, the Scottish Land Fund has been established to help regenerate Scotland's rural communities.
It will award grants to local communities to buy large and small areas of land and turn them into sustainable projects with social, economic and environmental benefits for the whole community.
Launching the fund, justice minister Jim Wallace said: 'Last week I unveiled our proposals to give communities the chance to buy their own land. Today we're setting out how they can get practical help in doing just that. The fund will assist communities wishing to take control of their local land, supporting them at every stage of the process
'This initiative is for all Scotland, not just north or south. It's flexible enough to work across a wide range of projects, as diverse as crofters buying private estates under new legislation, buying fishing rights on a river, or buying and providing play areas for the children of a community.
'Community ownership will make a real difference to the lives of the people living in these areas. Projects supported from the land fund will create and safeguard employment, diversify the local economy and generate and retain income within the local area.
'By taking ownership of local land, the community will take the lead in offering its families and young people another solid plank on which to build a permanent, sustainable and long-term future within rural Scotland.'
Funding is also available for post-purchase community management and development projects, and for management and development costs where the community does not necessarily own the land.
In addition, groups will be able to access funding for feasibility studies to help inform their decision to buy land and land assets, and to test the viability of their plans for the land.