If this generation doesn’t do anything, Saskatchewan’s native grasslands could cease to exist in the coming decades according to Nature Conservancy Canada Senior Conservation Biologist Dan Krause.
He says the province is the heartland of Canada when it comes to grasslands. However, in the past century, 80 per cent of grasslands have been converted to crops or to help provide energy for cities.
Kraus says grasslands are vital for the ranching industry, but it also helps protect during flooding season. He says the grasslands are able to hold water better than cultivated lands, and release that water during droughts.
Another danger when eliminating grasslands is the future of about 60 species who rely on the habitat for their existence. For example, Kraus says there was an abundance of Sprague’s pipitwhen he was a kid, but through time 70 per cent of the bird’s population has died off because there are less grasslands to live in.
Kraus says Saskatchewan’s grasslands are among the world’s most-endangered ecosystems, disappearing at a faster rate than tropical rainforests.
Kraus will be on a panel at NatureTalks in Saskatoon, being held at the Remai Art Gallery on November 8th.