Grassland Songbird Response to Landscape Composition and Vegetation in Northeastern and East-central North Dakota (SWG T2-8-R)
Grasslands are one of the eight major biomes of the world and can be defined as “large, flat lands or areas with rolling hills” (Gray 2000). Grasslands have nutrient rich, highly productive soils (Piper 1995) that support a variety of plant and animal species and benefit local economies through tourism, pollination, ecosystem services, and cooperative agreements (e.g., haying and grazing). These productive soils are ideal for production of annual, agricultural crops and have resulted in the conversion of prairie to crop production. Loss of remnant prairie has resulted in an overall decline in plant and animal biodiversity (Samson and Knopf 1994, Bragg and Steuter 1995, Johnson 1996, Davis et al. 1999, Madden et al. 2000, Stephens et al. 2005), occasionally resulting in threatened or endangered species. Loss of biodiversity can also directly impact local businesses. The overall decline in grasslands and the plant and animal species that inhabit them has resulted in a stronger focus by natural resource organizations on managing and protecting these declining resources.