Tallgrass Prairies Provide Habitat
Tallgrass Prairies habitat is attractive to a diversity of wildlife including grassland songbirds and pollinators including Bumble bees, Butterflies, and Ants. These grasslands provide nesting, brood rearing, escape and roosting cover for songbirds and game birds such as Bobwhite quail, Wild turkey, and Pheasant.
Because Tallgrass Prairies are composed of native species, they have adapted to local growing conditions, i.e. soil, water, sunlight and climate. Drought, extremes of hot and cold temperatures, early and late frost have little effect on native species. (See: Restoring Canada’s Native Prairies, 1995).
Can be planted on Degraded Land/Soil
Tallgrass Prairies can be planted on degraded land and in poor quality agricultural soils. They do well in light or sandy soils but can be tolerant to a wide variety of soil types when planted in strips or as riparian buffers. The ability of the prairie plants to grow in poor soil providing benefits to soil erosion, water conservation and pollinators allows farmers to focus food production on prime agricultural land.
Build Soil Quality
Native prairie plants with their deep root systems and perennial nature are ideal for soil conservation. These root systems help to hold together light soil, store nutrients, buffer against climate variations. The cover provided by the plants eliminates surface sheet and wind erosion. The root systems of prairie plants are extensive and can grow several metres deep. Once the Tallgrass Prairie is established, it helps to build soil quality; as these roots break down, they add large quantities of organic matter to the soil.
Tallgrass Prairies are aesthetically pleasing to look at. The native prairie grasses and wildflowers provide a wide array of colour which varies from early spring and through into winter.
Tallgrass Prairies help to protect our water resources. They improve water infiltration and slow runoff, purifying the water and air by reducing nutrient, pesticide and bacteria loading into our waterways. Tallgrass Prairies make an excellent buffer strips along stream banks with their ability to anchor the soil with their deep root systems.
Tallgrass Prairies help to improve the environment around farms. Tallgrass Prairie once established is resistant to weed encroachment. The deep root systems of Tallgrass Prairie plants prevent shallow rooted non-prairie plants from becoming established. Because Tallgrass Prairie is the perfect habitat for pollinators they are the perfect companions for adjacent crops in intensive agricultural operations such as vegetable production.