Why conservation now?
Prairies matter. Let's work together to conserve wildlife, habitat, and natural resources now.
The history of human-grassland interactions is an important part of our story as a species. Unfortunately, the current chapter foreshadows a bleak future for grasslands in many parts of the world, along with the cultures and other species that depend upon them.
Temperate grasslands are one of our planet’s most endangered and least protected biomes. In the Great Plains of North America, for example, prairie landscapes and wildlife are rapidly vanishing, and very little of this land is formally protected. Less than three percent of the continent’s tallgrass prairie remains after more than 150 years of conversion to agriculture, which continues unabated. Within the past decade, large swaths of remaining native grassland have been replaced with corn and soybean monocultures, driven substantially by government subsidies for ethanol and biofuel production.
This story, however, is not over. By working together, we can write new chapters in which prairies, wildlife, and their habitat are protected, valued, and passed on to future generation.
Fortunately, this is exactly what Audubon of Kansas is working to do.
The hard work and fearless leadership of Audubon of Kansas—along with the many dedicated ranchers, farmers, conservationists, and supporters who make it thrive—give me hope that, one day, anthropologists like myself might look back to see that this grassroots organization changed the course of history and made the world a better place for humans, grasslands, and the diversity of life that dwells within them.
Ryan Klataske, PhD
Special Outreach Director, Audubon of Kansas