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

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

by Richard Manning
     
 

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More than forty percent of our country was once open prairie, grassland that extended from Missouri to Montana. Taking a critical look at this little-understood biome, award-winning journalist Richard Manning urges the reclamation of this land, showing how the grass is not only our last connection to the natural world, but also a vital link to our ownSee more details below

Overview

More than forty percent of our country was once open prairie, grassland that extended from Missouri to Montana. Taking a critical look at this little-understood biome, award-winning journalist Richard Manning urges the reclamation of this land, showing how the grass is not only our last connection to the natural world, but also a vital link to our own prehistoric roots, our history, and our culture.

Framing his book with the story of the remarkable elk, whose mysterious wanderings seem to reclaim his ancestral plains, Manning traces the expansion of America into what was then viewed as the American desert and considers our attempts over the last two hundred years to control unpredictable land through plowing, grazing, and landscaping. He introduces botanists and biologists who are restoring native grasses, literally follows the first herd of buffalo restored to the wild prairie, and even visits Ted Turner's progressive--and controversial--Montana ranch. In an exploration of the grasslands that is both sweeping and intimate, Manning shows us how we can successfully inhabit this and all landscapes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Booknews
The author, an award-winning journalist and nature writer, looks at the grasslands of the American West and Midwest, tracing the region from pre-history to the present. He discusses attempts to control the land and efforts to restore native grasses and wild herds of buffalo, and visits Ted Turner's progressive and controversial Montana ranch. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140233889
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
906,196
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 7.69(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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