From Science News Online: "It took less than a century after John Deere unveiled his steel-bladed plow in 1837 for the North America prairie to all but disappear. For 20 million years, a nearly 1,000-mile-wide swath of unbroken grassland belted the continent’s midsection from northern Canada to Mexico. Now, only about 5 percent is left, mainly as mixed and shortgrass prairie in the Plains states. To the east, less than 1 percent of the original lush tallgrass remains, most of it as remnants in pioneer cemeteries and old railroad rights-of-way."
The article highlights tallgrass prairie restoration efforts, diversity of remnant vs. restored prairies, bison grazing and increased prairie diversity, and the possible effects of climate change on tallgrass prairies.
The full article by Leslie Allen in Science News Online (from the week of Dec. 15, 2007; Vol. 172, No. 24) requires a subscription to the print magazine