State of the Land 2006, A brief inventory of public and private land in the United States

By: and and

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Quoted from an essay by Thoreau lamenting the way in which modern urban life has made natural resources into commodities and isolated people from the natural processes on which their lives depended. Move forward to 2006, “open space” or “green space” has nearly replaced ‘wilderness’ in our vocabulary with the rise in the development of the rural landscape. The US population is now over 300 million and more and more people are sprawling out from the urban areas into the country. This push outward is having a measurable effect on our open spaces. Farmland near cities has seen its value inflated by demand for conversion to non-farm uses. People are often willing to pay more than agricultural value in order to live in primarily rural areas. For example, in Iowa there are now more non-farmers living in rural areas than there are farmers.

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