More than a region on a map, North America's vast grasslands are an enduring place in the American heart. Unfolding along and beyond the Mississippi River, the tallgrass prairie has entranced and inspired its natives and newcomers as well as American artists and writers from Willa Cather to Mark Twain. The Tallgrass Prairie is a new introduction to the astonishing beauty and biodiversity of these iconic American spaces. Like a walking tour with a literate friend and expert, Cindy Crosby's Tallgrass Prairie prepares travelers and armchair travelers for an adventure in the tallgrass. Crosby's engaging gateway assumes no prior knowledge of tallgrass landscapes, and she acquaints readers with the native plants they’ll discover there. She demystifies botanic plant names and offers engaging mnemonic tips for mastering Latin names with verve and confidence. Visitors to the prairie will learn to identify native plants using the five senses to discover what makes each plant unique or memorable. In the summer, for example, the unusual square stem of cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum, sets it apart from its neighbors. And its distinctive leaf cups water after the rain. A gifted raconteur, Crosby tells stories about how humankind has adopted the prairie as a grocery, an apothecary, and even as a shop for love charms. Rounding out this exceptional introduction are suggestions for experiencing the American prairie, including journaling techniques and sensory experiences, tips for preparing for a hike in tallgrass landscapes, ways to integrate native prairie plants into home landscapes (without upsetting the neighbors), and a wealth of resources for further exploration. An instant classic in the tradition of American naturalist writing, The Tallgrass Prairie will delight not only scholars and policy makers, but guests to tallgrass prairie preserves, outdoors enthusiasts and gardeners, and readers interested in American ecosystems and native plants.
Author: Sylvan T. Runkel
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2009-06-01
This classic of midwestern natural history is back in print with a new format and new photographs. Originally published in 1989, Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie introduced many naturalists to the beauty and diversity of the native plants of the huge grasslands that once stretched from Manitoba to Texas. Now redesigned with updated names and all-new photographs, this reliable field companion will introduce tallgrass prairie wildflowers to a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in the Upper Midwest. Each species account is accompanied by a brilliant full-page color photograph by botanist Thomas Rosburg. In clear, straightforward, and accessible prose, authors Sylvan Runkel and Dean Roosa provide common, scientific, and family names; the Latin or Greek meaning of the scientific names; habitat and blooming times; and a complete description of plant, flower, and fruit. Particularly interesting is the information on the many ways in which Native Americans and early pioneers used these plants for everything from pain relief to dyes to hairbrushes. Runkel and Roosa say that prairies can be among the most peaceful places on earth; certainly they are among the most beleaguered. Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie will inspire both amateurs and professionals with the desire to learn more about the wonders of the prairie landscape.
Features the full-text of a paper entitled "An Introduction to Ants (Formicidae) of the Tallgrass Prairie," written by James C. Trager and originally published in the "Missouri Prairie Journal" in 1998. Notes that the information is presented online by the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.
Author: John Madson
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2009-11-01
“It was a flowing emerald in spring and summer when the boundless winds ran across it, a tawny ocean under the winds of autumn, and a stark and painful emptiness when the great long winds drove in from the northwest. It was Beulahland for many; Gehenna for some. It was the tall prairie.”—from the “Prologue” Originally published in 1982, Where the Sky Began, John Madson’s landmark publication, introduced readers across the nation to the wonders of the tallgrass prairie, sparking the current interest in prairie restoration. Now back in print, this classic tome will serve as inspiration to those just learning about the heartland’s native landscape and rekindle the passion of long-time prairie enthusiasts.
Author: Chris Helzer
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2009-05-01
Most prairies exist today as fragmented landscapes, making thoughtful and vigilant management ever more important. Intended for landowners and managers dedicated to understanding and nurturing their prairies as well as farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and all those with a strong interest in grasslands, ecologist Chris Helzer’s readable and practical manual educates prairie owners and managers about grassland ecology and gives them guidelines for keeping prairies diverse, vigorous, and viable. Chapters in the first section, "Prairie Ecology," describe prairie plants and the communities they live in, the ways in which disturbance modifies plant communities, the animal and plant inhabitants that are key to prairie survival, and the importance of diversity within plant and animal communities. Chapters in the second section, "Prairie Management," explore the adaptive management process as well as guiding principles for designing management strategies, examples of successful management systems such as fire and grazing, guidance for dealing with birds and other species that have particular habitat requirements and with the invasive species that have become the most serious threat that prairie managers have to deal with, and general techniques for prairie restoration. Following the conclusion and a forward-thinking note on climate change, eight appendixes provide more information on grazing, prescribed fire, and invasive species as well as bibliographic notes, references, and national and state organizations with expertise in prairie management. Grasslands can be found throughout much of North America, and the ideas and strategies in this book apply to most of them, particularly tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies in eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, northwestern Missouri, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin, and southwestern Minnesota. By presenting all the factors that promote biological diversity and thus enhance prairie communities, then incorporating these factors into a set of clear-sighted management practices, The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States presents the tools necessary to ensure that grasslands are managed in the purposeful ways essential to the continued health and survival of prairie communities.
Author: William R. Jordan
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 1997-03-01
Prairies are among the most severely degraded ecosystems on the North American continent, with virtually no original prairie land extant in a pristine state. Because of the amount and severity of environmental damage visited upon them, prairies have become a proving ground for the fledgling craft of ecological restoration.The restoration of ecosystems is a practical science, with little theoretical knowledge available to guide the work of practitioners. Information is acquired primarily through an arduous process of trial and error, and the need for sharing information is immense. The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook is thus an essential contribution to the literature.The book is a hands-on manual that provides a detailed account of what has been learned about the art and science of prairie restoration and the application of that knowledge to restoration projects throughout the world. Chapters provide guidance on all aspects of the restoration process, from conceptualization and planning, to execution and monitoring. Chapters cover: conserving biodiversity restoring populations of rare plants plowing and seeding obtaining and processing seeds conducting burns controlling invasive plants animal populations monitoring vegetation and more Other resources include a key to restoration options that provides detailed instructions for specific types of projects and a comprehensive glossary of restoration terms. Appendixes present hard-to-find data on plants and animals of the prairies, seed collection dates, propagation methods, sources of seeds and equipment, and more.The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook is a state-of-the-art compendium that can serve a vital role as a sort of "parts catalog and repair manual" for the tallgrass prairies and oak openings of the Midwest. Written by those whose primary work is actually the making of prairies, it explores a myriad of restoration philosophies and techniques and is an essential resource for anyone working to nurture our once-vibrant native landscapes to a state of health.
Author: Dave Williams
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2010-04-15
Settlers crossing the tallgrass prairie in the early 1800s were greeted by a seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Today, although the tallgrass prairie has been reduced to a tiny percentage of its former expanse, people are working to restore and reconstruct prairie communities. This lavishly illustrated guide to seeds and seedlings, crafted by Tallgrass Prairie Center botanist Dave Williams and illustrator Brent Butler, will insure that everyone from urban gardeners to grassland managers can properly identify and germinate seventy-two species of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses in eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma. Williams has created a brilliant, nearly foolproof system of identification and verification. Two primary keys lead to eleven secondary keys that link to characteristic groups of tallgrass plants: seven groups for wildflowers and four groups for grasses. To identify a seedling, use the primary key to discover its place in the secondary key, then turn to that characteristic group to find your seedling. Circles on each full seedling photograph correspond to close-up photographs; triangles on these close-ups illustrate information in the text to further pinpoint identification. Drawings of leaves illuminate exact identification, and enlarged photographs of each seed provide yet another way to confirm identification. Thousands of seeds were sprouted in the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s greenhouse to provide seedlings close in size and development to those grown in the field near the end of their first season; research and photography took place over four years. Williams’s text for each species includes a thorough description, a comparison of similar species, and guidance for germination and growth. A complete glossary supports the text, which is concise but detailed enough to be accessible to beginning prairie enthusiasts. Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to preserve the native vegetation of prairie remnants or reconstruct a tallgrass prairie of whatever size—from home gardens to schoolyards to roadsides to large acreages—will benefit from the hundreds of photographs and drawings and the precise text in this meticulously prepared guide.
Author: John T Price
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release Date: 2014-06-01
Genre: Literary Collections
The tallgrass prairie of the early 1800s, a beautiful and seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, is now a tiny remnant of its former expanse. As a literary landscape, with much of the American environmental imagination focused on a mainstream notion of more spectacular examples of wild beauty, tallgrass is even more neglected. Prairie author and advocate John T. Price wondered what it would take to restore tallgrass prairie to its rightful place at the center of our collective identity. The answer to that question is his Tallgrass Prairie Reader, a first-of-its-kind collection of literature from and about the tallgrass bioregion. Focusing on autobiographical nonfiction in a wide variety of forms, voices, and approaches—including adventure narrative, spiritual reflection, childhood memoir, Native American perspectives, literary natural history, humor, travel writing and reportage—he honors the ecological diversity of tallgrass itself and provides a range of models for nature writers and students. The chronological arrangement allows readers to experience tallgrass through the eyes and imaginations of forty-two authors from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Writings by very early explorers are followed by works of nineteenth-century authors that reflect the fear, awe, reverence, and thrill of adventure rampant at the time. After 1900, following the destruction of the majority of tallgrass, much of the writing became nostalgic, elegiac, and mythic. A new environmental consciousness asserted itself midcentury, as personal responses to tallgrass were increasingly influenced by larger ecological perspectives. Preservation and restoration—informed by hard science—emerged as major themes. Early twenty-first-century writings demonstrate an awareness of tallgrass environmental history and the need for citizens, including writers, to remember and to help save our once magnificent prairies.
Author: Annick Smith
Publisher: Council Oaks Distribution
Release Date: 1996-10-01
The Nature Conservancy has begun an ecological experiment on one of North America's last remaining expanses of grasslands. Beyond simply conserving the place, they are studying it and shaping it anewbringing back bison and seeding with fire to liberate the biodiversity of a land never broken by the plow. Writer Smith was employed to present what is known and being researched concerning the natural ecosystem of the Osage tallgrass prairie, as well as the historical human uses of the prairie that have shaped its attributes. Color photos by Harvey Payne, who grew up and lives in the area, reveal his intimate knowledge and reverence for the land and its flora and fauna.
Author: Harold Gardner
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2010-12-01
This work advocates the restoration of the North American tallgrass prairie, which is rapidly disappearing. Historical descriptions of prairie aesthetics are outlined. As we are experiencing a worldwide mixing of plant species, prairie restoration is particularly important. Plants alien to North America do not readily support insect populations, including all animal species higher on the food chain. Prairie restoration methods are described for amateurs, academics, and land managers. Some of the techniques described are growing crops for seed production, times of seed gathering for specific species, facile seed processing for amateurs, land preparation, segregation of seed into its preference for habitat, and required seed treatment for germination. Over 200 species are described that comprise the predominant species found in tallgrass prairie nature preserves, as well as degraded prairies. Some additional plants of especial interest are also described. The appendix tabulates all likely species found on prairies regardless of their scarcity. Safe fire management of prairies is described in detail. Finally, methods of controlling aggressive alien weeds by herbicides are detailed.