Working lands, whether private or publicly owned, provide substantial economic, ecological, and recreational resources across the U.S. Here in Texas, we often boast of being a “private land state”, meaning the majority of the land (~95%) is held in private ownership. Many may wonder how this came to be and if other states fall under similar ownership patterns. For this new Featured Map, we briefly explore the history of land settlement across the nation and demonstrate the unique ownership landscape that exists today.
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Under the Texas Land Trends project, informative reports have been developed over the years to empower public and private decision-makers with the information needed to plan for the conservation of vital working lands. Public usability and access to this report data has been a cornerstone of this long-standing effort, promoting the creation of the Data Explorer tool, which was first launched in 2015.
In our latest featured map, we took satellite imagery collected throughout 2019 and stitched them together in an animation to illustrate the phenological changes of vegetation across Texas.
From 1997-2017, Texas lost about 2.2 million acres of working lands
Texans will agree that you could never experience the full breadth of the state in one lifetime. It’s easy to identify the unique characteristics sprinkled throughout, ranging from the population composition and cultures, the native flora and fauna, and the spectacular river systems like the Red River in the north and the Rio Grande in the south. In true Texas form, you will also find a range of agricultural production strategies varying by regional differences in climate and landscape. At the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, we tell the story of our state’s privately-owned farms, ranches, and forests, otherwise known as working lands, which provide numerous ecological, economic and intrinsic benefits to our communities and beyond.
How we, as collective stakeholders in the state, balance our needs and the challenges from land-use changes will influence future outcomes for Texas’ open spaces. Where do we start?
Earlier this year, NRI was invited by the the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) Farm and Land Committee to present the story behind Texas Land Trends: How and Why Texas is Changing.
Listen to Dr. Roel Lopez and Blair Fitzsimons, CEO of Texas Agricultural Land Trust, provide clarity on the importance of conservation easements in Texas from ensuring the public benefits remain available to helping future generations through the actions we can take now.
Our latest Texas Land Trends report examines conservation easements, an important tool that can complement both landowner and public needs by supporting rural economies, creating recreational opportunities. and providing intrinsic benefits.
Freshwater mussels play an important role in the health of freshwater ecosystems by providing food and habitat for other aquatic species, stabilizing stream bottoms, and filtering the water in our lakes and rivers. The Rio Grande basin is home to three mussel species suffering from habitat loss and growing human populations in this area may be threatening the water systems necessary for their survival.
From scattered rural settlements to big cities, the density and distribution of people in Texas has changed dramatically over time. As "urban sprawl" continues to increase development in the outlying areas around cities, it will affect the resources, amenities, and job opportunities for the people who live there.
Texas is the largest wind energy producing state in the U.S. As the wind energy industry continues to expand, challenges of compatibility with other national priorities continue to be a consideration—including military training.
A Texas Land Trends Story Map: Texas is home to four species of quails: Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail, and Montezuma Quail. Many Texans fondly recall experiences with quail, whether they were hunting or watching them, or just listening to their songs. Despite the interest in these quail species, their overall abundance, especially northern bobwhites, have declined over the past few decades. Recent research efforts seek to determine what factors have and continue to contribute to the decline of quail in Texas.
Our latest Texas Land Trends report examines Texas’ changing and aging landowners and potentially the largest intergenerational land transfer in its history.
September’s Map of the Month blog highlights one of the maps from the East Foundation's book, Horses to Ride, Cattle to Cut: The San Antonio Viejo Ranch of Texas.
While ag tax evaluations traditionally involve practices such as haying, cropping, grazing and livestock, the state added a wildlife management use component in 1995. This non-traditional approach to preserving open space lands and their values has gained momentum in the past two decades, as the total number of acres enrolled has risen from 93K in 1997 to 3.2M in 2012. So how do you qualify and what is the process to switch from a traditional ag use property to wildlife management use?