- Issue: Winter 2018
OF THE GREAT PLAINS AREA REMAINS INTACT
Each year, WWF uses data from the USDA to track the conversion of grasslands to cropland across the Great Plains of North America and compare the loss to that of previous years. We also track the kinds of crops that are being grown on converted lands and the quality of the soils that are being plowed.
This information can be found in WWF’s annual Plowprint Report.
The findings help us analyze trends in grassland loss, understand the impacts of this loss on biodiversity, figure out why this conversion is taking place, and pursue strategies to protect grasslands for future generations.
What we have found is that high-quality soils that remain intact (42.7 million acres in the Great Plains) are at highest risk of conversion, but that low- and moderate-quality soils are also being converted at alarming rates.
WWF believes that low- and moderate-quality soils are not good farmland and shouldn’t be plowed. They provide the last stronghold for many plants and animals native to the Great Plains.