Grasslands Stories

  • New project will help improve 1 million acres of grasslands to help fight the climate crisis

    September 22, 2020

    WWF is joining forces with The Walmart Foundation, McDonald’s, and Cargill to invest more than $6 million in this initiative to make lasting improvements to America’s iconic grasslands.

    Northern Great Plains
  • America's disappearing backyard

    August 05, 2020

    From 2014 to 2018, tillage of grasslands across the Great Plains occurred at an average rate of four football fields lost every minute. This means that millions of acres of America’s temperate grassland, one of only four left in the world and a critically important ecosystem, is being plowed up for crop production.

    A tractor plows a vast field with a rain storm in the distant background
  • 3 billion animals harmed by Australia’s fires

    July 28, 2020

    Australia’s bushfire crisis was one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history. New WWF research reveals that the toll on wildlife was around three times higher than an earlier study estimated.

    Echidna walks amongst burnt bushland
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe will create the largest native-owned and managed bison herd in North America

    May 07, 2020

    The Rosebud Sioux tribe committed 28,000 acres of native grassland for the creation of a new plains bison herd. With a capacity to support 1,500 animals, the Wolakota Buffalo Range will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.

    A lone bison on the Fort Peck Tribes Cultural Buffalo Herd Ranch Facility
  • Shared Home

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2020
    Nepal's Khata Corridor was once desolate land. Now, thanks to WWF and partners, the corridor is a perfect thruway for tigers and other dispersing animals.
    Tiger sign
  • Working together for grasslands

    The Northern Great Plains is one of the world’s last great, remaining grasslands. Across its 183 million acres, nearly 132 million remain intact. Among those acres that are still intact, approximately 70% is privately owned, and often by ranching families.

    Riding a horse in Nebraska, United States
  • Newly patented technology helps save endangered black-footed ferrets

    WWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Model Avionics developed an innovative system to deliver plague protection for black-footed ferrets in the form of peanut butter-flavored baits by drones or all-terrain vehicles to prairie dogs. Recently, the team received a patent for the design—a first for WWF!

    drone flying and delivering bait
  • Party in the grass

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    The grasslands buzz with often unseen biodiversity. This medley of wildlife images offers a dizzying look at the insects and plants that contribute to the ecosystem of the Northern Great Plains.
    Prairie plants and insects
  • Stewards of the prairies

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    Economic and cultural pressures have made ranching more challenging in recent years. WWF has been working with ranchers to help keep the grasslands intact to the benefit of both ranchers and wildlife.
    Pronghorn in grassland
  • Welcome home! Bison released into new territory

    October 11, 2019

    Bison in Badlands National Park now have an additional 22,553 acres to roam thanks to a passionate group of supporters who want to see America’s national mammal thrive.

    Bison released into Badlands National Park
  • Where do rhinos live? And eight other rhino facts

    September 19, 2019

    One of WWF's rhino experts answers common questions about rhinos around the world.

    White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), Kenya.
  • Progress in closing elephant ivory markets

    August 12, 2019

    Singapore takes an important step in protecting species from illegal wildlife trade.

    African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Linyanti Reserve, Botswana
  • Understanding grassland loss in the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2018
    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. Here's what we found.
    numbers grassland2 winter2018
  • Seven unsung ecosystems we need to survive

    They may not be household names, but these ecosystems are vital to the health of our planet. They support an incredible range of plants and animals, as well as millions of people and their communities, and play a critical role in fighting climate change.

    zebra mirror Greg Armfield WW1113071
  • The next Dust Bowl? Great Plains grassland loss slows overall, but rises in South Dakota

    WWF’s latest annual study of the extent and impact of conversion of grasslands to croplands reveals that though such activity activity generally declined across the Great Plains in 2017, it has nearly doubled in South Dakota within the same time span.
    A tractor in a field
  • What’s the difference between Asian and African elephants? And 8 other elephant facts

    Elephants, found in both Africa and Asia, are vital to maintaining the rich biodiversity of the ecosystems that they share with other species. Here's a snapshot of what you should know about them.

    African elephant portrait
  • 5 Reasons the Farm Bill Matters to Conservation

    April 25, 2018

    Right now, members of Congress are working out the final details of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the stakes for conservation are huge.

    Hunt's Bumble Bee on sunflower
  • Grassland songbird populations pressured by the plow

    October 24, 2017

    Grassland birds native to the Northern Great Plains are losing vital habitat in the form of plow-up for row crop agriculture.

    bird sitting on a branch
  • Grassland birds of the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2017
    Grassland birds have taken a nosedive in recent decades: They’re the fastest-declining bird group in North America.
    Lark bunting on a shrub
  • Working together for monarchs

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2017
    In Iowa's farm country, two families share stewardship of the land and help butterflies
    monarch butterfly
  • WWF supporters raise more than $250,000 to help bison in Badlands National Park

    March 30, 2017

    In early March, nearly 2,500 people donated a total of $256,512 to extend bison habitat at the park from 57,640 acres to 80,193 acres. This will allow the park to achieve and sustain a herd of more than 1,000 bison, and will allow more park visitors to see and learn about the United States’ National mammal.

    Close-up of bison in Badlands
  • A leopard family offers safari-goers an unexpected reward in Botswana

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2017
    On a safari in Botswana, we saw a leopard emerge with a tiny, spotted cub held gently in her mouth. It was so young its eyes weren’t even open—likely no more than two or three days old.
    Leopard in Tree
  • A rainfall simulator helps us understand grasslands

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2017
    Every year, trillions of gallons of rainfall and snowmelt pour into the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains. But the role the grasslands play in capturing all that liquid is often poorly understood. Enter the rainfall simulator.
    rainfall simulator 01
  • Cedar and steel: a day in the life of a young rancher

    Kate Rasmussen of South Dakota offers readers a glimpse into the life of a next-generation rancher from the Northern Great Plains, one of the largest remaining intact grasslands in the world. WWF is partnering with organizations such as the South Dakota Grasslands Coalition in support of ranching families and grassland stewards like the Rasmussen family.

    Kate Rasmussen on her farm in the Northern Great Plains