Celebrating and conserving the ecological richness of California's grasslands

Grasslands perform essential services necessary to support life.

Grasslands contribute to human well-being and provide benefits that extend to local, regional, and global communities.

Food and Agriculture:Humans owe the development of our civilization to grasslands, which are the source of species that are staples in our diet, and enabled the development of agriculture and domestication of livestock.

Carbon Storage: Grasses have an enormous capacity for carbon storage. Grasslands remove more carbon from the atmosphere than any other ecosystem in America.

Biodiversity: California’s relatively intact grasslands are reservoirs of biodiversity containing about 40% of California’s native plant species.

Pasturage: Many of California’s native grasses are considered excellent forage and continued to be so after reportedly over 100 years of grazing use.

Water Quality:Deep-rooted perennial grasses capture, filter and store water, and anchor the soil in place throughout the year long after annuals die.

Aesthetics and Recreation: Grasslands provide sweeping views, gorgeous wildflower displays, and wonderful hiking opportunities.

Habitat:Grasslands are open habitats that provide necessary food and shelter for many birds, insects, and animals.

Grasslands are perhaps the most human-altered terrestrial ecosystem in California.

Agriculture, invasion by exotic species, development and other human-related activities has reduced California native grasslands by 99%. Yet, California’s relict native grasslands are habitat to over 40% of the state’s total native plant species!  Grassland birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, pollinators and other animals depend on the resources these plants and spaces provide. Currently 73 grassland-associated species are listed by the state & federal Endangered Species Acts: 14 vertebrates and 59 plants, and 14 invertebrates, including 6 butterfly species.This count does not even include native pollinators and other plants and animals experiencing sharp declines without the benefit of a government attention. How can we stand by and let it continue to happen?

© 2019 California Native Grasslands Association                                                                                                  501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization
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