Grassland: 2the History, Biology, Politics, and Promise of the American Prairie

Richard Manning, Author
Richard Manning, Author Viking Books $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-85342-7
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-14-023388-9
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Our culture's disrespect for grasslands has produced an environmental catastrophe, charges the author. By allowing overgrazing on public lands, our government is wiping out an ecosystem as vital as the Brazilian rain forests. In this sweeping exploration of the prairie, Manning (A Good House) makes an eloquent plea to restore it. Cattle, loss of habitat, fragmentation, climate change and invasion of exotic species have wrought severe damage. Manning takes us from Ted Turner's bison ranch in Montana to Wes Jackson's Land Institute in Kansas; from the Sandos ranch in Nebraska to the Walnut Creek Preserve in Iowa, which is being restored to native tall-grass prairie. Any restoration, he stresses, must include bison. The author urges that we change grazing practices, arguing that ideally there would be bison grazing on open ranges, with cattle as a second choice-but only on large tracts. He states that we need to match agriculture to conditions, instead of remaking the conditions. A thoughtful and provocative look at prairie ecology. (Sept.)
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