Mountain prairie. Photo by Casey Stemler

Coordinator’s Corner: Grasslands

With so many distractions confronting the people of this country, it seems gaining attention for land conservation – and ultimately wildlife conservation – is a tall order indeed. We have all viewed efforts to promote the conservation of oceans, wetlands, and even forests. However, we hear little about “grasslands,” yet, from a global perspective, temperate grasslands are one of the most altered biomes with the highest risk of disappearing. Since 1830, native prairie losses exceed rates of all other biome losses within North America. Of 46 grassland nesting birds, 48% are species of conservation concern and 55% are showing significant population declines. Maybe these signals of an impending problem fail to catch attention now, but it’s only a matter of time until the consequences to wildlife become more prominent and society begins to realize grasslands provide value well beyond a bird they most likely will never see.

In the meantime, PPJV partners continue to work tirelessly with private landowners to voluntarily protect their private property rights through conservation easements that help ensure the grassland resource and ranching opportunities endure through countless generations. PPJV partners will continue to work to restore grasslands lost, provide scientific information and tools to help better apply limited conservation dollars to grassland programs, and create innovative approaches to grassland conservation. Examples of some of these efforts can be found in this edition of the PPJV e-newsletter. The PPJV has long identified “grasslands” as a priority for its focus and work, yet we are expanding our reach and efforts. In future editions of the e-newsletter, we will continue to share information on the many ways we are working to conserve, enhance, or restore grasslands within the PPJV and beyond.

In closing, we need to approach grasslands with renewed vigor and expanded support. Consequently, please share your knowledge and support of grasslands and the programs that support its conservation with the broader American public – because without their understanding and support our efforts to protect this vanishing treasure will never keep pace with its loss.

Please feel free to contact the PPJV Coordinator, Casey Stemler with questions, concerns, ideas, etc. regarding grasslands or the PPJV in general.

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