Restoring North America’s Most Imperiled Ecosystem
Tennessee was once home to an estimated 7 million acres of grasslands. Even now, after so much loss of grassland over the past 250 years, Tennessee lost an average of 27,359 acres of grassland each year between 2008 and 2016. Restoring this critical habitat is key for the success of native wildlife and plants.
Did you Know?
estimated historical acres of grassland in Tennessee
of grassland lost in Tennessee from 2008 to 2016
of threatened and endangered plants in the southeast require or prefer grassland habitats.
Source: Southeastern Grasslands Initiative
Grasslands are Critical Habitats for Plants and Wildlife
Of the more than 26 million acres of land in Tennessee, nearly 7 million were historically grassland habitats. Most types of grasslands in the Southeast have declined by at least 90% of their historic range. Grassland habitats provide many ecosystem benefits, such as carbon sequestration, improving soil health, and flood control. They also provide incredible food and cover for pollinators and wildlife species that rely on grassland habitats, as well as economic benefits through horticulture, tourism, agriculture, and more.
Tennessee Wildlife Federation is a member of the national coalition in support of the North American Grasslands Conservation Act (NAGCA). If passed, this act would provide dedicated funding for restoration and conservation of native grasslands across the country. It would also create a North American Grasslands Conservation Strategy to guide these projects.
The NAGCA was first introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2022. The bill was modeled after the highly successful North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has led to the restoration of nearly 3 million acres of habitat since it passed in 1989.
Without grasslands, thousands of wildlife and plant species would be lost. Learn more about the NAGCA and how it would impact conservation in the southeast in this blog.
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