When most people think of American grasslands, they imagine the vast open prairies of the Great Plains. Few recognize that some of the most varied and important grassland habitat actually occurred in the Southeast. Contrary to popular lore, the Southeast was not an unbroken forest stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River. Rather it included a stunning and biodiverse mosaic of grassland types, including savannas, balds, glades, fens, marshes, bogs and even prairie.
These Southeast grasslands have lost nearly 90% of their original extent. Conserving and restoring what remains is the mission of the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, a BAND grantee. Grasslands are one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems yet are often overlooked as a critical reservoir of biodiversity, a vital carbon sink and an essential resource for local and indigenous communities. BAND also supports grasslands conservation in Kenya, Tanzania and Mongolia.