AGRICULTURAL VS. URBAN LAND
WOODROW WILSON TORCH INSTITUTE: GIS &
UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC
PROBLEM: There is considerable concern
about the continued use of prime agricultural land for urban expansion
tn the central
valley countiesof California. For further information
Provide hard copies of the maps on this web page or generated by ArcView
using the data sources cited below. Introduce the problem above.
Ask students to analyze the maps and formulate conclusions about the change
in the Central Valley over time.
Ask students to make inferences about the causes of these changes.
For a class that has access to a computer lab, the internet, and ArcView
software, give them an ArcView project that contains the raw data.
Direct the students to add themes from the data folder and activate those
themes to generate various maps. From this, activity, students can formulate
hypotheses related to change in the Central Valley.
GRAPHIC PRESENTATION OF DATA
The 1980 county population was retrieved from the ArcView Data provided
The 1990 county population was retrieved from the California Department
The 1982-1992 agricultural data for the target counties was retrieved from
the Census of Agriculture stored at the Oregon State University Data Center.
The following graphic illustrates the percentage
of population growth for the target counties
The following graphics illustrate the percentage of change in agricultural
acreage over the ten year period (1982 - 1992). The trend for the
majority of the counties has been for the reduction of agricultural acres.
Agricultural Landmass Maps
The following graphics illustrates the percentage
of change in the land mass devoted to agriculture over the
ten year period (1982-1992). The trend for the majority of the counties
has been for the reduction of agricultural landmass as a percent of the
The greatest impact noted in the time period is that the largest loss in
agricultural production was in San Joaquin and Merced counties. Both counties
demonstrate the largest loss in both agricultural land mass as a percent
of the county area and agricultural acreage.
Sutter County seems to have the greatest preservation of agricultural land
in relation to its population growth.
Glenn County appears to be demonstrating an excessive agricultural land
loss when compared to its population growth.