Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Uncertainties: global change - The loss of the North American grassland biome

Detailed Description

The loss of the North American grassland biome. Once spanning more than 2 million square kilometers, we have lost over half of the world’s most imperiled ecosystem: the temperate grasslands. A map of North America shows the loss of the grassland biome from Canada to Mexico, largely contained within the central plains of North America. The current grassland range is a subset of the historical extent, located mainly in the U.S. in parts of MT, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, WY, CO, NM, & TX. Four midwestern states of IA, MO, MN, & WI have lost most of their historic grasslands. Only 50,000 square kilometers remain of Texas native grassland — 18% of historic grasslands in the state. Next to the map is a circular stacked bar chart that emphasizes the difference between current and lost grassland range (like the loss of half of Montana’s native grassland). Overall, only 38% of historic native grasslands exist today. Chart made using data from Comer et al, 2018


Public Domain.