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The Potential of Restored Grasslands for Conserving Wildlife and Fuel Production

The Potential of Restored Grasslands for Conserving Wildlife and Fuel Production PERSPECTIVE J. Curtis Burkhalter ative grasslands have been termed the United States' most imperiled ecosystem, with losses ranging from 70­99 % since the turn of the 20th century ( Johnson 2000). A major driver of these losses has been the proliferation of intensive agriculture with >70% of all remaining U.S. grasslands dedicated to agriculture and other human land uses, such as haying and rangeland (Perlut et al. 2008a). Furthermore, irrigated and pasture lands worldwide are expected to double in area by 2050, with a net loss of ~1 billion ha of wildlands (Perrings et al. 2006). A large proportion of this loss can be expected to come from productive natural grassland habitat. Declines in grasslands have a direct impact on ecosystem services such as soil conservation, flood mitigation, and wildlife habitat (Sala and Paruelo 1997). These losses of habitat have been accompanied by devastating declines in the wildlife species that depend on them, particularly birds. No other avian guild has as many declining populations as do grassland birds (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). This is troubling due to the variety of ecological services provided by birds, such as seed dispersal, controlling populations of invertebrates through predation, and serving as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Restoration University of Wisconsin Press

The Potential of Restored Grasslands for Conserving Wildlife and Fuel Production

Ecological Restoration , Volume 31 (2) – Jun 13, 2013

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
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1543-4079
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Abstract

PERSPECTIVE J. Curtis Burkhalter ative grasslands have been termed the United States' most imperiled ecosystem, with losses ranging from 70­99 % since the turn of the 20th century ( Johnson 2000). A major driver of these losses has been the proliferation of intensive agriculture with >70% of all remaining U.S. grasslands dedicated to agriculture and other human land uses, such as haying and rangeland (Perlut et al. 2008a). Furthermore, irrigated and pasture lands worldwide are expected to double in area by 2050, with a net loss of ~1 billion ha of wildlands (Perrings et al. 2006). A large proportion of this loss can be expected to come from productive natural grassland habitat. Declines in grasslands have a direct impact on ecosystem services such as soil conservation, flood mitigation, and wildlife habitat (Sala and Paruelo 1997). These losses of habitat have been accompanied by devastating declines in the wildlife species that depend on them, particularly birds. No other avian guild has as many declining populations as do grassland birds (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). This is troubling due to the variety of ecological services provided by birds, such as seed dispersal, controlling populations of invertebrates through predation, and serving as

Journal

Ecological RestorationUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Jun 13, 2013

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