Texas Trends > Land Use Trends
Land Use will continue to change across Texas particularly where communities are growing. Conserving the land through proper land management principles should ultimately benefit all those living in Central Texas.
Texas is a big and diverse state with areas similar to Georgia to the east and Arizona to the west. It is second only to Alaska in area and California in population. This size and diversity bring many challenges in managing the resources of the state. Many of the issues and challenges, and thus opportunities, result from these characteristics. The rapidly-increasing population is placing an unprecedented demand on Texas, whether for products, wildlife habitat, clean water, or 10-acre ranchettes. As urban sprawl expands into the rural areas, less area becomes available for providing the traditional benefits of these lands. These challenges are not unique to Texas. In fact, the changes that create these challenges are occurring in every state in the nation. Significant threats to resources, such as insects and diseases, catastrophic fire, and loss of critical landscapes to development, coupled with pressure placed on local economies by the increasingly global nature of products industries, point to the need for more progressive strategies for conserving the resource.
Conserving Land for Urban Sustainability
With the addition of 6.5 million residents since 1990, rapid urbanization is creating intense pressure on the sustainability of the land and resources around Texas communities. These provide economic, health, and environmental benefits that are important to the quality of life in Texas communities. It is critical to care for, and conserve the land around the communities where Texans live, work, and play. With cities such as greater-Austin expected to grow by at least 1.5 million people in 30 years, wise land use practices will be important both within a city and in rural lands surrounding it.
Conserving Land for Life-Sustaining Products
Livestock, crops, and trees have always been essential for life. This will surely continue into the future. Historically, cities were located in areas where these products were available. Now these cities are growing creating smaller areas of land which can provide these products. Conserving these lands and uses is now important on small acre parcels as well as large acre parcels.
Wildfire and Public Safety
Since 1996, the state has seen significant fire seasons in 9 of the past 13 years. Once primarily a rural issue, wildfires are now clearly a statewide threat. In recent years, wildfires have threatened small towns and large cities alike, destroying hundreds of homes. Three primary factors are combining to create these intense fire seasons-population growth, changing land use, and increasing drought frequency.