Prairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize the Prairie-Oak Habitats of the Pacific Northwest

Prairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize the Prairie-Oak Habitats of the Pacific NorthwestPrairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize the Prairie-Oak Habitats of the Pacific Northwest

 

A report by six conservation groups aims to revitalize dwindling prairie and oak habitats in the Pacific Northwest in economically and socially beneficial ways.

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Surrounded by the vast conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest, prairie-oak habitats were once a haven of open spaces and big oak trees. People historically had a strong connection with the prairie-oak ecosystem in a unique and a mutually beneficial relationship. Native peoples needed resources provided by the prairie-oak ecosystem – acorns, camas bulbs, deer and elk, shelter and cover of the big oak trees – that were essential for their survival. The prairie-oak ecosystem needed people to regularly initiate the process of renewal through fire. Today, however, that bond between people, prairies, and oaks is tenuous in many places, and completely gone in others. These have always been the places where people have wanted to live. Over time, however, the historic partnership has been fractured and nearly lost with the expanding impact of the human footprint. The prairie-oak ecosystem needs help. In some places it is on life support – species are gone or barely hanging on, and in others, the native habitat has been so overwhelmed by invasive species as to become unrecognizable. Rescue is now dependent on us to step up with the necessary resources to start rebuilding the relationship. It will never be the same as before; the shift to human dominance is complete. However, in some places with immediate intervention and regular nurturing, the human connections to prairies and oaks can be reestablished, not only to save this imperiled ecosystem and its species, but to rekindle a lost heritage.

Read Prairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize the Prairie-Oak Habitats of the Pacific Northwest

Willamette Partnership Staff

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