The Freeman Center lies within the biogeographically unique region of the Texas Hill Country, characterized by rugged hills, karst hydrology, variable climate and high species diversity. In addition, the Center and the whole region are located on the boundary of one of the fastest growing population centers of the United States, the Austin-San Antonio corridor. This confluence of unique ecology, rising resource demand, especially for water, and related factors renders the Freeman Center a much needed and matchless natural laboratory for the study of sustainable land and water management, as well as the study of the urban-wildland interface.
The Texas Hill Country lies at the boundary between eastern and western climates, and is surrounded by prairie, savanna and desert biomes. It is characterized by extraordinary climate variability and a high level of endemism associated with aquatic and cave ecosystems. Historically, the region has been used primarily for grazing by cattle, sheep and goat, but increasingly large tracts of rangeland are subdivided into smaller tracts under a wide array of management objectives, goals and expertise.
The Freeman Center is therefore exceptionally well situated to enable research and teaching that define and promote best stewardship practices, studies relevant to understanding the challenges at the urban-wildlands interface, as well as communicate results to a diverse community of local stakeholders. These capacities permit students and faculty at Texas State University to conduct externally funded research and lays the foundation for collaborative research across scientific disciplines and institutions.