Precious Prairie Lands

There is something about prairies that touches my soul. Not sure I can pinpoint why, not that it matters. A prairie is an ecological community that has less than one tree per acre. A prairie is a grassland dominated by grasses and forbs. The various grasses determine the structure of the prairie, but the beautiful and diverse forbs give the prairie it’s spectacular color.

Prairies build soil, capture carbon, trap sediment, grow livestock, and support pollinators.  Depending upon our individual preferences, prairies also provide flowers to enjoy, birds and butterflies to watch, and/or wildlife to hunt. Many prairie wildflowers have medicinal value to humans, such as the purple coneflower, or Echinacea.

By the middle of the twentieth century, nearly all of the North American prairie grasslands had been destroyed due to extensive farming. The result was miles and miles of soil with no strong prairie grass to hold it in place, and few trees to block the wind. When drought struck the prairie in the 1930s, high winds blew the dry soil into huge, frequent dust storms, devastating the Great Plains. The Great Plains were called the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression period. 

Great Blog from the Prairie Ecologist. I especially like his reference to Dr. Seuss.

I love this photo of the roots. Maybe because during my travels, my roots are more widespread than deep.

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