Monday, April 10, 2017

Five Important Aspects of Prairies and Why to Protect Them

In addition to his role as physician and owner of Dermatology Consultants of Wisconsin, Dr. Steven Armus serves as prairie technician and environmental biologist for Native Prairie Restoration. Dr. Steven Armus possesses more than a decade of prairie restoration experience and provides consultation on how to restore original prairie states. The following list covers the importance of prairies and their continued protection:

1. Provides habitats to native species – Prairies provide habitats for wide variety of native species, including birds, reptiles, insects, butterflies, mammals. Protecting and restoring prairies ensures the continued survival of these animals and helps prevent the decline of creatures that depend on grasslands and prairies to maintain healthy population numbers.

2. Delivers soil enrichment – The diverse range of plants and wildlife that inhabit prairies enabled these lands to undergo thorough decomposition cycles for thousands of years that contributed to the formation of rich soil. The process leads prairies to offer some of the richest soils in the world.

3. Promotes healthy crops – The rich soil found in prairies provides an abundance of nutrients to planted crops and promotes the growth of healthy, high-yielding crops and produce. States with tallgrass prairies like Iowa produce some of the top quality agricultural products in the country.

4. Improves water quality – Native prairies and grasslands protect watersheds and improve water quality by providing natural sediment control that prevents erosion. The density of plants above the soil and their complex root systems prevent wind and water erosion, respectively. Plants also hold topsoil in place to reduce the amount of soil washed into rivers and streams, while serving as filtration systems. 

5. Conserves natural heritage – The protection and restoration of prairies helps converse the cultural and natural heritage of states where prairies and grasslands once flourished. Prairies are among North America’s most endangered large ecosystems due to rapid population growth and the subsequent conversion of prairies to urban areas and pastures.