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Envr Prairie Grass
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Thread: Prairie Grass

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    Prairie Grass

    Prairies are some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, with the tallgrass prairie being the most endangered. Only 1-4% of tallgrass prairie still exists.

    Prairies are critically important, not only for the unique biodiversity they possess, but for their effect on climate.

    The ability to store carbon is a valuable ecological service in today’s changing climate. Carbon, which is emitted both naturally and by human activities such as burning coal to create electricity, is a greenhouse gas that is increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere. Reports from the International Panel on Climate Change, a group of more than 2,000 climate scientists from around the world, agree that increased greenhouse gases are causing climate change, which is leading to sea level rise, higher temperatures, and altered rain patterns.

    Most of the prairie’s carbon sequestration happens below ground, where prairie roots can dig into the soil to depths up to 15 feet and more. Prairies can store much more carbon below ground than a forest can store above ground. In fact, the prairie was once the largest carbon sink in the world-much bigger than the Amazon rainforest-and its destruction has had devastating effects.

    Photo taken by Jim Richardson.
    Attached Images

  2. #2
    I thought I had read a very long time ago that some of the prairie grasses had roots down to around 30". But maybe that was how far down the good topsoil went, because of millennia of buffalo herds living there, migrating with the seasons.

    Either way, it is impressive, if not astonishing.

  3. #3
    Also the native prairie grasses with their long root systems recharge the natural ground water systems and aquifers. Huge plus and perhaps the answer to many over grazed and dry as a bone ranches.

    In our AO, there is seeps (small springs) everywhere near prairie grass fields.

    We also love (for short grass yard) the natural buffalo grass that grows around here and will never try to use or plant any traditional yard grasses.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    The Social Security number is a bigger threat to Liberty than Communism or ISIS.
    Isn't it strange that we don't require our policemen to attend law school?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Martinhouse View Post
    I thought I had read a very long time ago that some of the prairie grasses had roots down to around 30". But maybe that was how far down the good topsoil went, because of millennia of buffalo herds living there, migrating with the seasons.

    Either way, it is impressive, if not astonishing.
    I've read 50 feet for some. But most are really down there.

  6. #6
    On a cross country trip years ago to a new duty station, I insisted we stop at a small patch of virgin (never plowed) tall-grass prairie. It was national preserve if I remember correctly, open to the public just off the interstate someplace in the mid-west. It was just a fenced off area about a mile square with a sign or two. No rangers or fees, and I don't even remember there being a brochure box. I can't remember which state.

    It was fascinating. An incredible variety of plants grew there, and I happily went through almost two rolls of film just taking pictures of different plants. It was a lot more than just grasses. We spent a good half hour there, letting the girls wander under DH's watchful eye as I reveled in the beauty of such a unique ecosystem.

    We were about to get into the car when I spotted the first one. "The first one" is key. I thought that it was a subtle breeze wafting through the foliage, but no. It must have been herds of ticks all descending upon us. Here we are, on a frontage road beside the interstate, stripping down two small kids aged about 2 and 4 down to their undies, searching for ticks. Then DH and I looked as well as we could on ourselves and each other, on the frontage road beside the interstate - for ticks. I hate to think what passing motorists were thinking.

    I must confess, we are probably responsible for the tick infestation of all the states from there to the Pacific Ocean because we found ticks crawling inside the car and tossed them as we found them. "MOM!" took on a new urgency as one or other of the girls would spot one crawling beside a window. I'm not sure how well they survive a trip out of a vehicle travelling 60mph down the interstate, but to those who found them - we are sorry.
    Fortunately, this was decades ago, before Lyme disease reared its ugly head, and we didn't die of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, for which we are grateful. Actually, none of us were bitten on that little excursion. Needless to say, DH and the girls didn't want to get out of the car any more that trip, but they didn't want to stay IN the car either. Nor was I allowed to chose any more side trips.


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