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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Prairie serves as habitat for hundreds of species".......... "Its milkweed feeds monarch butterflies, which make an epic migration through the United States from Mexico to Canada every year"................. "Monarch populations have dropped dramatically because of insecticides and loss of habitat"..................."Not only does prairie, with its deep-rooted plants, soak up farm wastewater that pollutes rivers, it also enriches soil"..................... “The reason why we have the best soil, making it possible to have the world’s best food production, is prairie,” said Lisa Schulte Moore, an Iowa State professor known around the state as the prairie guru. “And we’re killing it"..................."Soil is eroding at an alarming rate"........................... "Topsoil was an average of 14 inches deep statewide in the mid-1800s; now it’s about six, Iowa State researcher Rick Cruse estimated in studies"........................... “Can we keep going this way for another 150 years? I don’t think so".................. "Iowa farmers lose about $40 per acre to soil erosion in a state where more than 85 percent of the land is covered by crops".................... “If you look at those figures and the amount of corn acres in Iowa, you quickly surpass a billion dollars of annual lost revenue".............. "Nearly a third of topsoil is lost in ephemeral gullies, swaths carved into farms by heavy rain"............ "Since most prairie plants are perennial, they physically stabilize the soil most of the year"

ripped out 
prairie; now 
some hope it can
 save themI

Black-eyed Susans
 with soybean plants.
 Most farmers say the
 Midwestern prairie 
crops. But, according
 to Iowa 
State University
 researchers, the wild 
protects soil from
 erosion. (Andrew
The Washington Post)

Re-planted Prairie adjacent to crops

How will prairie strips improve
 farmland’s health? 
Prairie strips keep
 vital soil resources in crop fi elds.
 Planting just 10% of a row-cropped 
watershed in native prairie, strategically
 located on the contours and foot slope, 
reduces sediment transport by 95%
 compared to cropland without prairie

 Deep-rooted prairie plants
 increase soil organic matter and
 improve infiltration, while their 
stiff, upright stems slow surface runoff 
and help hold soil in place during rain
 events. Prairie strips protect water quality,
 reducing overland fl ow by 60% and
 nitrogen and phosphorus transport by 
90%. They have no impact on crop yield
 other than the land taken out of production
. Healthy soil and clean water provide
 environmental benefi ts that protect
 the future of Iowa agriculture.

How do prairie strips increase biodiversity? 
Small prairie strips increase the diversity of
 plants, insects, songbirds and wildlife in the 
watershed. Researchers documented a 380% 
increase in native plant species in cropland 
planted with prairie strips compared to entirely
 cropped watersheds. Prairie plants provide
 year-round habitat and food for beneficial
 insects, which provide pollination services 
and prey upon crop pests.

 Insect diversity in cropland with prairie 
strips equals that of nearby prairie 
restorations. Prairie strips also offer 
habitat to songbirds and wildlife, 
increasing the land’s economic potential
 as a site for hunting and birdwatching. 
Greater numbers and species of birds 
are consistently found in agricultural
fields with small patches of prairie, 
including some species of statewide 
conservation concern, such as the field 
sparrow, dickcissel and eastern meadowlark.
 Studies have found that even small patches
of grassland habitat within row-cropped
 landscapes, especially if several patches
 are present, can play a big role in 
maintaining these species.

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