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Northern Short Grasslands (WWF ecoregion NA0811)

shortgrass prairie, Ordway preserve, North Dakota
shortgrass prairie, Ordway preserve, North Dakota  (c) 2005 Ron E. VanNimwegen

Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 4 (nationally important)
The ecoregion contains a variety of grasses, shrubs, and in valleys, trees.*

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 2 (endangered)
15% of the U.S. portion remains intact, with only about 2% intact in Canada.  Much of the area is degraded rather than converted, so it has potential for recovery. *

Characteristic species*
Bouteloua spp. (grama grass)
Stipa spp. (needlegrass)
Agropyron spp. (wheatgrass)
Poa annua (spear grass)
Koelaria spp. (junegrass)
Carex spp. (sedge)
Artemisia tridentata  (big sagebrush)
Opuntia spp. (prickly pear)
Populus spp. (scrubby aspen)
Salix spp. (willow)
Populus spp. (cottonwood)
Acer negundo (box elder)
Puccinellia spp. (alkali grass)
Hordeum spp. (wild barley)
Sarcobatus vermiculatus (greasewood)
Salicornia rubra (red samphire)
Suaeda depressa (sea blite)

Associated habitats

prairie dog town, Theodore Roosevelt Ntl. Park, North Dakota

Prairie dogs fill an important ecological role in this ecoregion through their burrowing.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann   hires

shortgrass prairie, western Saskatewan

 (c) 2005 Scott and Ruth Bassett   hires

badlands, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Natural erosion results in an extensive canyon system known as "badlands".  (c) 2005 James H. Bassett  hires  hires

* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al.  (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment.  World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 287-290.

Except as noted, images copyright 2002-2004 Steve Baskauf - Terms of use