Historically, wildfires played a very important role in shaping prairies. Fire keeps forest plants from taking over and allows the soil to warm up quickly, making the prairie plants grow back faster. Prairies once covered two million acres of Wisconsin As Europeans settled in Wisconsin, they converted the treeless, fertile prairies into crop fields and controlled the sweep of wildfires. Today, less than 12,000 scattered acres exist. As grasslands are lost, so are the animals that live there. In order to protect and maintain the biodiversity of prairie ecosystems, special restoration techniques, such as prescribed or controlled burning (burning on purpose for specific reasons), can give grasslands a chance for rebirth.Learn more about what makes up a prairie and the different types of prairies found in Wisconsin.
Click on the plants and animals below to learn more about creatures that inhabit Wisconsin's prairies. For another view of the prairie see the Prairie Poster Part 2
[Prairie Ringneck Snake]