Skip to Main Content

The Center for Native Grasslands Management




Title: Courage to preserve
Year: 2010
Author(s): Byford, J.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 1
Original Publication: http://nativegrasses.utk.edu/publications/ENGSproceedings_web.pdf  
Abstract: At one time, native grasses dominated much of this region’s landscape. Over a period of decades, we have converted native grasslands to non‐native plants that we felt suited our needs better. Recently, we’ve begun to have second thoughts. One reason is that our needs have changed some, and another is that we now know more about ecosystems and what makes them function. An effort is now underway to convert part of our landscape back to native grasses, but changing an old habit is difficult. People are reluctant to change something that’s worked for them their whole life. Opponents of new ideas abound, and the internet and other instant media provide ready platforms from which to express their opinions. The result is a polarized and confused public, politicians unwilling to commit, unstable public policy, and frustrated change agents. Changing the old habit can be done, but it won’t be easy. We first have to admit that native grasses are not a panacea—not the only answer. We must understand that we won’t ever convert all the landscape back to native plants—we have too many people to feed. With that basic understanding, we must do three things to be successful in converting part of our landscape back to native plant communities: o Provide leadership. And the initial leadership must come from people at this symposium. o Develop a long‐range strategic plan—with goals, benchmarks, and timelines. o Be patient with those who oppose or try to distract us, keep our frustration at bay, and above all—persevere until the job is done.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper
  Back