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Resilient & Connected Landscapes: Great Plains

Situated in the center of the US, the Great Plains support 10% of the world’s grasslands and the largest remaining herds of native grazing mammals like bison and pronghorn. The prairies, sandhills, and wetlands vary across the landscape in response to a strong west-to-east precipitation gradient caused by the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains to the west, and locally by variation in landforms and geology.  Fire, drought, and grazing have played key roles in shaping the prairies, and their size and connectivity are important indicators of their viability.  In most of the Great Plain’s ten ecoregions, over 90% of the land is in private ownership, but compatible land use practices such as sustainable ranching practices play important roles in supporting ecosystem function and diversity.

The Nature Conservancy, working with partners from eleven states and two countries, has completed a large multi-year study to identify and map the climate-resilient sites that could sustain the important features in the Great Plains region. Here you will find a report explaining the methods, datasets for download, and interactive web tools to explore the results and measure the resilience of places you know. The project was supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.






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