by Suzanne Russell, IUPUI
North American Prairies
Grasslands exist on almost every continent on the globe. North America's prairies are by far the largest. This isn't saying much, however, when you consider that 200 years ago there were approximately a half million (500,000) square miles of prairie. Today, there is less than ten thousand (10,000) square miles.
Prairies offer up a richly diverse eco-system that is important to the envirionment. It is the home to many fascinating, animals, plants, birds and insects - some of which are almost extinct! As a stewart of the planet, it is important for you to know what a prairie is, why it is important, what happened to it and what can be done to protect it.