In an exploration of the grasslands of North America that is both sweeping and intimate, Manning makes interesting connections between economics, botany, farming, and democracy. His discussion of the impact of romantic ideals of landscapes upon this biome is insightful, and his travels with botanists, biologists, buffalo and a visit to Ted Turner's ranch put faces and feet on the story. The message: by a careful reading of nature's design, we can more successfully inhabit this and all landscapes. Recommended.
From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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