Awakening to the spirit and beauty of the northern Great Plains
Friday, August 6, 2010
If grasslands are "like the freezer" no wonder we have so little left
gauchos on the Argentine Pampas
Out at the cabin for the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to post to Grass Notes, but when I get some time I will post some photos from the summer. Meanwhile, here are a couple of thoughts on grassland conservation that have been on my mind:
My ecologist friend, Rob Wright, told me recently that out of the 1.2 million acres of land in the Regina Plain Landscape Area (or ecodistrict K17 - on the Ecoregions of Saskatchewan map), a mere 450 acres still have their native grass cover. That means 99.07% of the native grass on the Regina Plains is gone. What can one say about that kind of annihilation?
Carla Sbert of Nature Canada sent me an article from the June 2007 issue of WorldBirdwatch, entitled “The Tyrant and the Gaucho.” It is about grassland conservationists in South America facing the same issues we grapple with in this hemisphere. Asked why grassland seems to be so undervalued compared to other kinds of natural cover, Anibal Parera, BirdLife International’s Coordinator of the Alliance for the Conservation of South America’s Southern Cone Grasslands, says “For most people, grasslands are like the freezer—a place where their food comes from. When they think of grasslands, they think of cows, crops, and horses. When people think of forest, they think of jaguars, owls, toucans. . . .” Anibal’s colleague Rob Clay added, “the changes resulting from grassland conversion are less dramatic than those caused by rainforest deforestation, so to the untrained eye there is little difference between a grazed pasture, cereal crops, and pristine grasslands.”