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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
WWF’s 2023 Plowprint Report analyzes the rate of grassland plow-up across the US, and Canadian portions of the Great Plains. This analysis is based on the USDA’s annual Cropland Data Layer and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Annual Crop Inventory which looks at grasslands plow-up that has occurred two years prior to the release date. As a result, the 2023 edition reports on plow-up and conversion that occurred during 2021.
WWF’s analysis finds that in 2021, 1.6 million acres of grasslands (an area larger than Delaware) were destroyed across the US and Canadian Great Plains, contributing to a total of nearly 32 million acres plowed across the region since 2012.
There is, however, the opportunity to change course: despite all that has been lost, we still have a lot left to fight for. Nearly 377 million acres across the Great Plains remain in grass cover which is managed by private landowners, Native Nations, and Federal entities, according to the report. One of the greatest opportunities we have to ensure that the grasslands of the Great Plains continue to exist, benefiting both people and wildlife, is policy.
Download this year’s report (See also Key Terms and Definitions) to learn more about the state of grasslands across the Great Plains and the policy opportunities that WWF has identified as offering the most promise for the future of this irreplaceable landscape.