Protecting our prairies: Research and policy actions for conserving America’s grasslands | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
September 2020
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Grasslands are among the most endangered ecosystems in the world. They supply vital resources for society, support an abundance of wildlife species, and store rich carbon reserves beneath their surfaces. Despite this, only a fraction of original grasslands in the United States now remains, and their rate of conversion to cropland has recently reaccelerated. This paper discusses opportunities that are immediately available to reduce the loss of U.S. native grasslands (i.e., prairie) and advance toward collective goals in grassland conservation. Potential solution-oriented actions include inventorying and monitoring remaining prairie, reconsidering public and private incentives for conversion and conservation, and establishing an industry-led moratorium on natural ecosystem loss. There is also a need among the engaged communities to develop unified messaging and a shared vision for grassland conservation in the U.S., such as “no prairie conversion” or “zero net loss of grasslands.” Additional tangible steps for action are outlined across the science, policy, and public-driven support arenas and offered for multiple stakeholder groups, including agricultural producers, policymakers, academics, and conservation organizations.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Lark, Tyler J.


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

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