Landowners, landowners' rights, species... Questions! Feedback would be appreciated too! :)

I'll preface this all by saying that I don't own land! I'm just a kid, and my two cents are worth just a cent and a half. So, take any of my opinions about this stuff with a grain of salt!

I have had a few discussions about landowners and landowners' rights lately... I'm drawn to a few conclusions and perhaps a little confusion on my part.

Someone stakes claim to a portion of land a few hundred years ago. This land is then transferred through time among family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Money changes hands, hand shakes are made, names are written on deeds. But I'm curious -- who does this land really belong to? All the species that make up that land -- who do they belong to?

I did a little googling, and found out there are quite a few legal terms when it comes to landowners... "A landowner has a right to occupy the surface of his/her land. A landowner has a right to plant trees, crops, and other vegetation on his/her land. A landowner has a right to the air above and below his/her to a reasonable extent." (

Species (plants, animals, fungi, etc) found on this land have evolved and changed for millions and millions of generations, but then they're branded with the name of the person that has purchased the land where they originated...? These landowners thereby own the biodiversity and all of the knowledge of the biodiversity just to themselves, right?

I guess I just don't understand it and probably have some growing up to do when it comes to this, but it does seem a bit confusing to me.

Don't get me wrong, I always obey the "no trespassing" signs that I see, but at the same time, I scowl at them. I won't go on the land you claim to own, but do you really think you own it? Every species recognizes you as their owner?

I don't know! Maybe, if I own some land someday, I'll have a different opinion. Right now, it's just confusion.

What do you think?

Posted on 07 August, 2015 21:25 by sambiology sambiology


Sam, I have to say I agree with you.

Posted by susanhewitt almost 9 years ago

The right to cross "owners" land is more complicated in Texas than most think, particularly along waterways, year round streams and intermittant streams. Not only that, your right to traverse someone elses property along a stream is determined partially by the original land grant. If the land was originally granted under Spanish Law, then you have more rights to traverse land than if it was originally deeded under the Republic of Texas.

It's possible online to figure out how particular parcels of land were originally deeded. For some of them you will need to be able to read Spanish.

That said, I wouldn't try accessing the land without notifying the owner. Your legal standing won't help you a bit if you if you are shot dead.

Posted by lg_price almost 9 years ago

Sam, I am a landowner. Philosophically, I agree with you 100%. Practically, I can understand the other side of the argument. If someone shows up on my land, I want to know what they're doing there because the majority of trespassers around here are just being nosy poking around the house or shop. I believe the majority of landowners wouldn't mind at all if they knew your heart and your reasons for wanting to traverse the land they call their own. Coming into the "yard" of lots of long time country folk (even if that yard is ten acres or so) would be no different from someone walking into your living room to investigate something they saw through the window. If you rent, you don't own your home, but you probably wouldn't be comfortable with that notion. The EPA and several other agencies already have the right to take precedence over landowners if sufficient cause is found -- i.e. a wetlands or endangered species habitat that needs protection. Even though I "own" land, I really consider it a long-term lease.

Posted by lauramorganclark almost 9 years ago

I am reminded of the "Great Possessions" section of Aldo Leopold's July Chapter in "A Sand County Almanac".

Posted by connlindajo almost 9 years ago

I imagine there's a backstory here. What got you pondering possession?

Mineral rights and water rights are even stranger and more complicated, from the little I know.

Posted by carrieseltzer almost 9 years ago

Sam, are you aware of this: ? Sounds like they've built relationships with landowners and lead expeditions on them.

Posted by lauramorganclark almost 9 years ago

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