For this month: a prairie state of mind.
As I crank away (as an ecologist) on a project looking towards restoring and revitalizing hundreds of acres of coastal prairie grasslands, I am always amazed (read:appalled) by how much prairie we’ve lost. There’s maybe 5% of the historic, original California prairies. And that true number may be more like 2-3% when you consider what percent are ecologically intact or healthy. Even our most beautiful wildflower fields have been difficult to protect. These prairies provide critical wildflower and pollinator resources that simply can’t be replaced with simple restoration practice. We need to keep the landscape alive as we help in little, supplementary ways through protecting rare plants, corridors, native vegetation, natural disturbance regimes.
If you want to add in a comment and link to a photo of your favorite coastal prairie site, please do so. I’m still thinking about mine…
Meanwhile, I highly recommend additional study with the California Native Grasslands Association, and this wonderful online PDF of a CNPS Fremontia magazine dedicated to prairies and grasslands. Here’s the monthly calendar – Golden Larkspur featured. Here’s the full-sized jpg for personal, non-commercial use.