Investing in Conservation: Quantifying ecological return on investment

Our population is projected to increase by nearly 73 percent in most of our lifetimes. Historically, the private landowners, who steward undeveloped, rural land covering more than 80 percent of the state, safeguarded Texas’ open space lands and many ecological returns from which we all benefit, including preserved working agricultural and forest lands, enhanced water resources, protected wildlife habitat, and accessibility to the outdoors for all. 

Conserving Texas: Quantifying Ecological Return on Investment  was developed to better understand the current benefits and needs for financial investment in our state's natural resources to best support our growing state population, the stewards of the land, our thriving economy, and healthy landscapes. The report (1) outlines an approximate statewide ecological return on investment for land conservation efforts, (2) describes the demand for land conservation and increased public access, and (3) illustrates high conservation priorities for each focal area of concern, including working lands, water resources, wildlife habitat and recreation.

As you read Conserving Texas, the calculations you’ll find in the report describe many opportunities dedicated funding like this could provide. With less than four percent of the land in Texas under some form of development protection through the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program, private conservation easements and public park and wildlife management areas, long-term state investment could play a central role in conserving and, further, restoring important lands and waters mitigating the effects of growth and development on our natural resources for the benefit of every Texan.






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