There are many reasons why blackland prairie has been lost in West Alabama, and why what remains is in a highly fragmented state. Conversion of prairie land to agriculture (cotton, soybeans, etc.) and the soil disturbance associated with this destroys the prairie ecosystem. Cattle grazing and residential expansion are also detrimental to blackland prairie. Some land that has historically been blackland prairie is currently being used for timber production, and most pine plantations are not managed to allow for species other than pine trees. Aquaculture is another important industry in West Alabama and construction of fish ponds also destroys prairie habitat. That being said, landowners are not villains in the blackland prairie, they need to be able to make a return on their investment. We hope to forge partnerships with landowners and industries in the region to work blackland prairie into their property management plans wherever possible.

Photo taken by: Robby Limerick