is a tallgrass prairie state. This ecosystem once covered almost 264,000
square miles from Canada to Texas and Nebraska to the Great Lakes. Most
of the tallgrass prairie vanished in less than 50 years, converted to
farmland and overgrazed by domestic livestock. Today, only small patches
of tallgrass prairie remain, barely enough to remind us of its original
The United States has no grassland national park; this ecosystem disappeared
too quickly under the settlers plows to be preserved. Only a few
conservationists were interested in prairie preservation prior to the
1970s. As a result, pristine tallgrass prairie is the rarest of North
Americas major biomes.
Approximately 99.99 percent of the tallgrass prairie has been destroyed;
some of what remains is protected. Even today, non-protected prairie
remnants are threatened by construction of houses, shopping centers,
roads and parking lots.