Category Archives: Prairie Management

A Closer Look at Prairie Roots

One of the biggest jobs of a prairie steward is to manage the competition between plants, ensuring that no species becomes too dominant and no species is pushed out of the community.  In our prairies, much of our effort is … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Known Unknowns

As you may have noticed, I write a blog about prairies.  I post a couple times a week on various topics, ranging widely from basic natural history facts to fairly complex scientific ideas.  I’ve also written a book on prairie … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History | Tagged , | 21 Comments

The Bench Strength of Prairies in the Face of Climate Change

In case you hadn’t noticed, the climate is changing.  Things are getting weird, and they’re going to get weirder.  Here in central North America, we’re expecting more and more intense storm events and drought periods in the coming decades.  Scientists are … Continue reading

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Measuring Our Influence as Conservation Scientists

I am a conservation scientist.  Like any other scientist, I develop and test hypotheses, trying to figure out how the world works.  Once I learn something, I publish my results in academic journals where other scientists can evaluate and build … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Pondering Winter Wildlife Cover From My Comfy Couch

It’s a good ol’ fashioned blizzard here today.  As I’m sitting snugly in my warm house, I’m feeling a little badly for some of wildlife out there in the snow and wind.  The boys went outside to play in the … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Why Would Bison Have Done That??

I have an honest and earnest question:  What do we actually know about the movement and grazing patterns of historic bison herds in North America? I’ve heard many similar versions of a story about the way in which historic bison … Continue reading

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Open Gate Rotational Grazing

An alternative approach to facilitating wildlife and plant diversity in grazed prairie. Based on the last 20 years of experience and data collection, the shifting mosaic approach to habitat management seems to support plant and animal diversity and foster ecological … Continue reading

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A Hopeful Metaphor for Prairie Managers

Recently, I listened to a conference presentation by Doug Ladd, the Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Missouri, and one of the smartest people I know.  Doug talked about the importance of conserving biodiversity, habitat diversity, essential ecological … Continue reading

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Trying to Create Something Different in the Nebraska Sandhills

At our Niobrara Valley Preserve (NVP), we’re experimenting with prairie management techniques to see if we can create a wider range of habitat conditions than is found throughout much of the Nebraska Sandhills.  On many Sandhills ranches, pastures look fairly … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Down A Deer Vetch Rabbit Hole

A single observation recently led me down a pleasant rabbit hole of data, plant species trends, and unanswered questions about interactions between climate, grazing, fire, soils, and other factors.  Read on if you want to follow me down that hole… … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments