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How Our Land is Used

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Description

This pie chart shows the amount of land in each of the broad land use categories used by the 1997 National Resources Inventory. Data values are in millions of acres. Cropland includes both cultivated and non-cultivated cropland. CRP is Conservation Reserve Program land. Developed land includes urban areas and rural transportation land.

Cautions for this Product:
Data are not available for Alaska.



Sources

Source: National Resources Inventory, 1997
Distributor: USDA-NRCS-RIAD
Reliability:
NRI sample data are generally reliable at the 95% confidence interval for state and certain broad substate area analyses. Generally, analyses that aggregate data points by smaller geographic areas and/or more specific criteria result in fewer data points for each aggregation and therefore less reliable estimates. NRI maps reflect national patterns rather than site- specific information.


Definitions

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP):
A Federal program established under the Food Security Act of 1985 to assist private landowners to convert highly erodible cropland to vegetative cover for 10 years. [NMCSP]

Cropland:
A Land cover/use category that includes areas used for the production of adapted crops for harvest. Two subcategories of cropland are recognized: cultivated and noncultivated. Cultivated cropland comprises land in row crops or close-grown crops and also other cultivated cropland, for example, hayland or pastureland that is in a rotation with row or close-grown crops. Noncultivated cropland includes permanent hayland and horticultural cropland. [NRI-97]

Federal land:
A land ownership class designating land that is owned by the Federal Government. It does not include, for example, trust lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs nor Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) land. No data are collected for any year that land is in this ownership. [NRI-97]

Forest land:
A Land Cover/Use that is at least 10 percent stocked by single stemmed forest trees of any size which will be at least 4 meters (13 feet) tall at maturity. When viewed vertically, canopy cover is 25 percent or greater. Also included are areas bearing evidence of natural regeneration of tree cover (cutover forest or abandoned farmland) and not currently developed for nonforest use. For classification as forest land, an area must be at least one acre and 100 feet wide. [NRI-97]

Land cover/use:
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 the land cover. The NRI uses the term (land cover/use) to identify the categories that account for all the surface area in the United States [BS-1982; NRI-97]

Other rural land:
A Land cover/use category that includes farmsteads and other farm structures, field windbreaks, barren land, and marshland. [Revised 1992 NRI Summary Report, omitting CRP land.]

Pastureland and Native Pasture:
A Land Cover/Use category of land managed primarily for the production of introduced or native forage plants for livestock grazing. Pastureland may consist of a single species in a pure stand, a grass mixture or a grass-legume mixture. Management usually consists of cultural treatments-fertilization, weed control, reseeding, or renovation and control of grazing. (For the NRI, includes land that has a vegetative cover of grasses, legumes, and/or forbs, regardless of whether or not it is being grazed by livestock.) [NRI-97]

Rangeland:
A Land cover/use category on which the climax or potential plant cover is composed principally of native grasses, grasslike plants, forbs or shrubs suitable for grazing and browsing, and introduced forage species that are managed like rangeland. This would include areas where introduced hardy and persistent grasses, such as crested wheatgrass, are planted and such practices as deferred grazing, burning, chaining, and rotational grazing are used, with little or no chemicals or fertilizer being applied. Grasslands, savannas, many wetlands, some deserts, and tundra are considered to be rangeland. Certain communities of low forbs and shrubs, such as mesquite, chaparral, mountain shrub, and pinyon-juniper, are also included as rangeland. [NRI-97]

Rural transportation land:
A Land Cover/Use category which consists of all highways, roads, railroads and associated rights- of-way outside urban and built-up areas; including private roads to farmsteads or ranch headquarters, logging roads, and other private roads, except field lanes. [NRI-97]

Urban and built-up areas:
A Land Cover/Use category consisting of residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional land; construction sites; public administrative sites; railroad yards; cemeteries; airports; golf courses; sanitary landfills; sewage treatment plants; water control structures and spillways; other land used for such purposes; small parks (less than 10 acres) within urban and built-up areas; and highways, railroads, and other transportation facilities if they are surrounded by urban areas. Also included are tracts of less than 10 acres that do not meet the above definition but are completely surrounded by Urban and Built-up land. Two size categories are recognized in the NRI: (i) areas 0.25 to 10 acres, and (ii) areas greater than 10 acres. [NRI-97]


Product Information

Product ID: 5116
Production Date: 12/3/99
Product Type: Chart


For additional information contact the Resources Inventory and Assessment Division. Please include the Product ID you are inquiring about. nri@wdc.usda.gov or 1400 Independence Avenue SW - P.O. Box 2890 - Washington D.C. 20013. If you use our analysis products, please be aware of our disclaimer.