Texas is comprised of 142 million acres of private farms, ranches and forests, leading the nation in land area devoted to privately owned working lands. These lands provide substantial economic, environmental and recreational resources that benefit all Texans.

Rapid population growth is driving suburbanization, rural development and ownership fragmentation that increasingly threatens working lands. These threats result in a fundamental change in the Texas landscape, impacting:

  • rural economies,
  • food and water security and
  • conservation of natural resources.

The Texas Land Trends project monitors the status and changes in land use, ownership size and land values of working lands. Research results are published as topic-based reports through the txlandtrends.org, an award-winning interactive website. Users can also explore and query the Texas Land Trends data through the web-based mapping service.

Texas Land Trends provides decision-makers and stakeholders with timely information to support the conservation and strategic planning of working lands within a spatially explicit context.  


Addie Smith

As a geospatial specialist, Addie Smith provides geospatial support within the geospatial analysis team for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and the Texas Water Resources Institute. She assists in the development…

Kevin Skow

As the geospatial manager for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Texas Water Resources Institute, Kevin Skow provides geospatial support and serves as the lead for several projects within the geospatial and inf…

Alison Lund

As a program coordinator for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Alison Lund assists in the organization and management of research, monitoring, reporting and outreach and training efforts associated with various e…

Ross Anderson

As the data analytics manager for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and the Texas Water Resources Institute, Ross Anderson provides leadership for web and desktop application planning, development and maintenance …


    New report shows changes in Texas borderlands over time

    The Madisonville Meteor—Changes in population density, rapid urbanization and rising land values have altered much of the historically rural landscape of the Texas borderlands, according to a recent Texas Land Trends report. 

    NRI releases first Conservation Easements in Texas publication

    This special series report describes the state’s current participation and growing need for land conservation easements. In this report we assess the value of all conservation easement acres in Texas within three broad categories of ecosystem services to describe the significant impact these lands have on the state's economy.

    Texas Land Trends tracks a changing state

    Is Texas a rural state? Yes. Eighty-three percent of the state’s lands are farms, ranches and forests. But it’s also an urban state. Eighty-six percent of Texans live in urban areas.

      Blog Posts

      Texas Land Trends meets Real Estate

      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.

      The value of conservation easements: An interview with Roel Lopez

      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. 

      Map of the Month: Conservation Easements in Texas

      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.

      Map of the Month: Freshwater Mussels: Key Indicators of Ecosystem Health

      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.

      Map of the Month: Bright lights and big cities: urban growth in Texas

      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.

      Map of the Month: Wind Energy in Texas

      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 Story Map: Habitat Requirements of Texas Quails

      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. 

      Map of the Month: Wildlife management land use acres

      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? 

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