World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Prairie restoration

Article Id: WHEBN0004385398
Reproduction Date:

Title: Prairie restoration  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Prairie, County Farm Park, Joel Sartore, Ecological restoration
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Prairie restoration

A Coastal prairie restoration project in Texas.

Prairie restoration is an ecologically friendly way to restore some of the prairie land that was lost to industry, farming and commerce. For example, the U.S. state of Illinois alone once held over 35,000 square miles (91,000 km2) of prairie land and now just 3 square miles (7.8 km2) of original prairie land exist.


Ecologically, prairie restoration aids in conservation of earth's topsoil, which is often exposed to erosion from wind and rain when prairies are plowed under to make way for new commerce. Conversely, much more of the prairie lands have become the fertile fields on which cereal crops of corn, barley and wheat are grown.

Many prairie plants are also highly resistant to drought, temperature extremes, disease, and native insect pests. They are frequently used for xeriscaping projects in arid regions of the American West.

A restoration project of prairie lands can be large or small. A carbon in the soil and help maintain the biodiversity of the 3000 plus species that count on the grasslands for food and shelter.

Types of plants

Prairie plants consist of grasses and forbs. Grasses, which are monocots, are similar to what may be in a yard, but grasses in the prairie will be of a broader leaf. Some prominent tallgrass prairie grasses include Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, and Switchgrass. Midgrass and shortgrass species include Little Bluestem and Buffalograss. Forbs fall into an unusual category. They are not grasses, trees or shrubs, but are herbaceous and share the field with the less diverse grasses. Most wildflowers and legumes are forbs. Forbs are structurally specialized to resist herbaceous grazers such as American bison, and their commonly hairy leaves help deter the cold and prevent excessive evaporation. Many of the forbs contain secondary compounds that were discovered by the American Natives and are still used widely today. One particular forb, the purple coneflower, is recognized more readily by its scientific name Echinacea purpurea, or just Echinacea, which is used as an herbal remedy for colds.

Early prairie restoration efforts tended to focus largely on a few dominant species, typically grasses, with little attention to seed source. With experience, later restorers have realized the importance of obtaining a broad mix of species and using local ecotype seed.[1]

Care of prairies

pests such as ticks.

If controlled burns are not possible, rotational mowing is recommended as a substitute.

One of the newer methods available is holistic management, which uses livestock as a substitute for the keystone species such as bison. This allows the rotational mowing to be done by animals which in turn mimics nature more closely. Holistic management also can use fire as a tool, but in a more limited way and in combination with the mowing done by animals.[2]

Prairie contributors

Some popular prairie restoration projects have been completed and maintained by conservation departments, such as Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, located in Wilmington, Illinois. This restoration project is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It sits on part of the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, specifically on an area once contaminated from TNT manufacturing. Since 1997, the project has opened some 15,000 acres (61 km2) of restored prairie to the public.

Another large restoration project finds its home on the ample area of Fermilab; a U.S. governmental atomic accelerator laboratory located in Batavia, Illinois. Fermilab's 6,800 acres (28 km2) sit a top fertile farmland and the prairie restoration project consists of approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of that. This project began in 1971 and continues today with the help of Fermilab employees and many community teachers, botanists and volunteers.

See also


  1. ^ The Importance of using Local Ecotype Plant Material, Iowa Prairie Network
  2. ^ Coughlin, Chrissy. "Allan Savory: How livestock can protect the land". GreenBiz. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 

External links

  • The Prairie Enthusiasts Grassland protection and restoration in the upper Midwest.
  • Prairie Plains Resource Institute
  • Prairie Parcel Restoration
  • Prairies Forever
  • Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Fermilab Prairie Prairie at the Fermilab Accelerator at Batavia, IL
  • Prairie Restorations, Inc.
  • Citizens for Conservation A non-profit centered in Barrington, IL restoring prairie, savanna and wetland habitats.
  • Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, located in central Wisconsin; instrumental in the rehabilitation of the Sauk Prairie on the Badger Army Ammunition Plant
  • International Crane Foundation, restores prairies and other crane habitats.
  • - A non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable conservation and the rehabilitation of prairies, forests, and wetlands.
  • American Prairie Foundation - A non-profit organization devoted to creating a prairie-based wildlife reserve in northeastern Montana.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.