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NRI - Illinois Highlights

Illinois Highlights
2007 National Resources Inventory

Significant findings for 2007 are as follows:

Surface Area

In 2007, the total surface area of Illinois was 36,058,700 acres.

Surface Area
Type of Land Acres Percentage
Federal Land 491,100 acres 1.4%
Developed Lands* 3,383,300 acres 9.4%
Water 732,500 acres 2.0%
CRP Land** 664,600 acres 1.8%
Other Rural Land*** 692,400 acres 1.9%
Cropland 23,910,500 acres 66.3%
Forestland 3,934,800 acres 10.9%
Pastureland 2,249,500 acres 6.9%

*Includes urban and rural transportation lands
** Conservation Reserve Program
*** Includes farmsteads, farm structures, field windbreaks, barren land, and marshland

 

Illinois Highlights
2007 National Resources Inventory

Land Cover/Use

Land Cover/Use is a term that includes categories of land cover and categories of land use. Land cover is the vegetation or other kind of material that covers the land surface. Land use is the purpose of human activity on the land; it is usually, but not always, related to land cover. The NRI uses the term land cover/use to identify the categories that account for all the surface areas of the United States.

Land cover/use changes of non-federal rural land in Illinois are as follows:

Land cover/use changes of non-federal rural land 1982-2007
Changes 1982-2007 Acres Rate Per Year
Developed Land +760,800 acres +30,432 acres
Pastureland -953,600 acres -38,144 acres
Forestland +303,000 acres +12,120 acres
Cropland -835,100 acres -33,404 acres
CRP Land +664,600 acres  

 

Land cover/use changes of non-federal rural land 1987-2007
 Changes 1987-2007  Acres  Rate Per Year
Developed Land +623,600 acres +31,180 acres
Pastureland -668,900 acres -33,445 acres
Forestland +280,900 acres +14,045 acres
Cropland -839,300 acres -41,965 acres
CRP Land +544,200 acres +27,210 acres

 

Land cover/use changes of non-federal rural land 1997-2007
 Changes 1992-2007  Acres  Rate Per Year
Developed Land +290,400 acres +29,040 acres
Pastureland -273,300 acres -27,330 acres
Forestland +131,300 acres +13,130 acres
Cropland -158,700 acres -15,870 acres
CRP Land -60,400 acres -6,040 acres

Cropland acreage in Illinois declined by 835,100 acres from 1982 to 2007, a 3.4 percent decrease. About half of this reduction is reflected in enrollments of environmental sensitive cropland in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

About 760,800 acres of land were developed between 1982 and 2007, bringing the state total to about 3,383,300 acres. For NRI purposes, developed land includes rural transportation corridors such roads as well as urban and built-up areas which include residential, industrial, commercial and other land uses. These findings on development are important because development isolates tracts of former farmland, which degrades wildlife and makes agricultural production inefficient.

Illinois ranks number 10 in states with the total acres of Developed Land behind Texas; California; Florida; North Carolina; Georgia; Pennsylvania; Michigan; Ohio; and New York.

 

Illinois Highlights
2007 National Resources Inventory

Erosions Reductions

The erosion rate on Illinois' cropland has steadily declined over the 25-year period. Conservation treatments such as no-till, terraces, conservation tillage, strip cropping, contour farming, and conservation cover planted on CRP land have contributed to this decline. The NRI divides erosion into two main categories, wind and water. Wind erosion data is not collected in Illinois.

Sheet and Rill Erosion (water) on Cultivated Cropland are as follows:

Sheet and Rill Erosion (water) on Cultivated  Cropland
Year Tons/acre/year
1982 6.3
1987 5.2
1992 4.3
1997 4.0
2002 4.0
2007 3.9

 

Illinois Highlights
2007 National Resources Inventory

Sheet and Rill Erosion (water) on Pastureland are as follows:

Sheet and rill erosion (water) on pastureland
Year Tons/acre/year
1982 1.5
1987 1.2
1992 0.9
1997 0.9
2002 0.9
2007 0.9

Average sheet and rill erosion rates on cultivated cropland in Illinois declined by 38 percent over the 25-year period.

Average sheet and rill erosion rates on pastureland decreased from 1.5 tons per acre in 1982 to 0.9 ton per acre in 2007.

Since 1982 average sheet and erosion rates on pastureland was reduced by 40 percent, but since 1992 have remained level.

At an average rate of less than 1.0 ton per acre or less, soil erosion poses little threat to pastureland productivity statewide.

 

Illinois Highlights
2007 National Resources Inventory

Prime Farmland

Prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses. Illinois had 20,753,900 acres of soils classified as prime farmland in 2007. About 18,523,600 (89.3%) of these acres were used as cropland. The remaining amount was used for pastureland, forestland, CRP land, and other rural land.

There were approximately 494,700 acres of prime farmland converted to other uses between 1982 and 2007. The acreage of prime farmland converted to other uses such as development during the 25-year period is greater than the combined area of Douglas and Cumberland counties and almost as large as Hancock County.

Illinois ranks number 3 in states with total acres of prime farmland. Only Texas and Kansas have more total acres of prime farmland than Illinois.

Prime Farmland Changes are as follows:

Prime Farmland
5 Year Change  Acres Rate Per Year
Changes 1982-2007 -494,900 acres -19,796 acres
Changes 1987-2007 -402,400 acres -20,120 acres
Changes 1992-2007 -333,800 acres -22,253 acres
Changes 1997-2007 -174,900 acres -17,490 acres