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New videos released on the history and future of prairies in the Piedmont

Bringing back the past to prepare for the future

The Piedmont Prairie Partnership, a group of non-profit, state, and federal agencies, just released two videos documenting the history of the Piedmont prairies and the restoration work in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Historically, much of the Piedmont was covered by prairies, some with scattered trees and some without. These open areas, maintained by fire, elk, bison and other animals, supported large numbers of flowering plants, pollinators, and wildlife including bobwhite quail. Most of the prairies were converted into farms, pastures, cities, suburbs or forests. Drought and higher temperatures due to climate change are expected to thin the forests.

Native prairies and grasslands provide habitat for honeybees, carpenter bees and bumble bees, as well as other pollinators like moths, bats and hummingbirds. They are also home to more rare and declining species, including grassland birds, than any other habitat in the Southeast. Conservationists across the Piedmont are working in natural areas, roadsides, utility rights-of-way and backyards to bring back this rare ecosystem.

“Probably one of our most preferred environments, as humans, would be that open park-like savanna with widely spaced trees, long views and grassy ground plants,” said Philip Juras, a landscape artist who specializes in re-imagining landscapes of the past.

Want to help bring back Piedmont prairies?

  • Go Native! Talk to your local botanical garden about sources for native plants to use in your yard.
  • Encourage land trusts to create Piedmont prairies on their lands.
  • Ask your power company and transportation department to manage existing native prairies and plant new prairies along roadsides and rights-of-way.

Videos highlighting Piedmont prairie restoration:



The Piedmont Prairie Partnership is a group of non-profit, state, and federal agencies working to bring back the prairies. Organizations include the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Atlanta Botanical Garden, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contact

Rua S. Mordecai, Coordinator, South Atlantic and Southeast Conservation Blueprint
(919) 707-0122

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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