This chart from the USDA shows just what’s been going on in the American landscape over the last six decades. Part of the takeaway is what has changed—the rise of cities and we’ve stopped grazing so much of the forestlands—but it’s also just as notable for what hasn’t changed.
Top image: 1932 photo of ranger in Glacier National Park / NPS
With the exception of forestland grazing which dipped, the amount of land we’re devoting to farming has stayed incredibly constant—that’s even more exceptional when you consider that over that same span of time, farm production doubled. It’s a change due not to how much land we’re using, but to how much better we’ve gotten at using it—and that’s something to think about as we try to figure out how to keep on increasing food production