African American Absentee Landowners in Houston and Their Knowledge of Rural Land Ownership Conservation Practices: A needs assessment

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2021: $14,532.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Chanda Elbert
Texas A&M University


Not commodity specific


  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life, sustainability measures, heirs property

    Proposal abstract:

    The project seeks to understand gaps in knowledge surrounding rural land conservation practices by African American current and potential absentee landowners living in Houston, Texas. Significant research addressing the education of absentee landowners on land conservation via timber management exists. There is a need to educate small acreage absentee landowners, where timber may not be a reasonable conservation option- focusing on the African American community. Much of the reported African American owned land is in heir property. Settlements usually end in the fractionation of the property, with some members choosing to continue to live away from their portion of the land. Without proper education, land conservation may become an afterthought to absentee landowners. The novelty of this project lies with the target population and the small acreage size. Some timber companies specify that they will not service areas less than 30 acres, making timber relatively easy to establish, but difficult to harvest. Conservation practices should be practiced and understood by everyone who owns or leases rural land. The objectives are to develop a needs assessment survey to gain insight into what rural conservation topics potential small acreage absentee landowners are unfamiliar with. Information gathered from the needs assessment will be used to develop a pilot workshop series that will increase participant knowledge on rural conservation practice options and government agency assistance. A retrospective post-test will be given to workshop participants and results will help extension educators determine the need for similar educational programs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps in knowledge and level of understanding of rural landownership conservation practices by urban African American current and potential absentee landowners. The needs assessment will include three sections:
      1. Current attitudes of African American landowners and potential landowners on rural land and rural landownership
      2. Perceptions of African Americans in regard to rural land and conservation practices.
      3. Perception of African Americans in regard to the status and trends of rural land ownership
    2. Increase the dissemination of conservation resources by engaging key stakeholders, including U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel in specifics of the project design and implementation.
    3. Increase knowledge and understanding of rural conservation practices of small acreage, urban potential absentee landowners by executing a 2-part pilot workshop series based on the information gathered from the needs assessment.
      1. Workshops will give participants access to information and personnel that can assist them with understanding and developing conservation plans.
      2. Inspire expansion in regard to the scope of landowner education by the extension system in Texas by sharing project findings and results extension professionals and stakeholders.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.