Importance of Restoring Grasslands/ Restoration Challenges
Why Are Native Grasslands Important?
Grasslands are a rich landscape that provides important ecosystem functions, such as cleansing our air, storing and filtering our water, capturing carbon and supplying sustainable grazing. Native grasslands, from flat, dry prairie to montane meadows, provide a diversity of habitats that support a suite of wildlife from sage grouse to grizzly bears. Alberta’s native grasslands provide environmental, economic and social benefits to the residents of Alberta and beyond. Conservation of intact native grassland landscapes and successful restoration practices are critical to maintaining habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem function in a multiple-use landscape.
Declining Native Grasslands
Native grasslands are one of the most developed and threatened landscapes in Canada. Industrial, urban and recreational development, intensification of agriculture and non-native species invasion are rapidly changing prairie landscapes. Loss and fragmentation of this ecosystem is reflected in the number of Endangered and At Risk grassland species.
To reverse this trend, we need to reduce fragmentation, and maintain native grassland integrity, including connecting corridors for wildlife and other species. Lastly, we need to reclaim disturbances with the goal of restoring sustainable native grassland landscapes.
- Our ability to restore native grassland plant communities is uncertain, especially in moister environments like rough fescue grasslands.
- Recovery can take decades and require on-going adaptive management.
- Establishment and spread of invasive species are a significant threat to native grasslands habitats. Reclamation requirements vary widely among industries operating on grasslands.
Information Transfer & Research
- Recovery Strategies for Industrial Development
- Working in Native Grassland Primer for Contractors
- Research and Technical Reports
- Guidelines & References
- Wind Energy Development: Issues and Guidance
- Video Links to Information Session Presentations
Grassland Recovery Strategies
These guidance documents are designed for industry and others, to improve reclamation outcomes on native grassland ecosystems with the goal of restoration after disturbance. Guidance is based on long-term monitoring, literature review, peer review and stakeholder workshops.
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITEE
The GRF Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is a diverse group of prairie stakeholders that provide support and expertise for GRF initiatives.