Grasslands once spanned across Nebraska in waves, from the tallgrass prairies in the east to the shortgrass prairie in the west and all the mixed-grass prairies in between. The history of Nebraska’s grasslands are deeply intertwined with the history of its people. Indigenous peoples across the Great Plains possess diverse and intimate knowledge about the region’s grasslands. They once utilized fire to shape the prairie landscape and attract large herds of grazing animals. But as settlers moved west, Nebraska’s Indigenous peoples were dispossessed, and much of the state’s grasslands were lost to the plow. However, the grasslands that do remain continue to support a unique assemblage of plants and animals, and provide valuable forage to livestock throughout the state.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has a long history of research in the Cornhusker State’s diverse grasslands. Today, the University continues that legacy, while training the next generation of grassland researchers and managers.
The video above was produced by Platte Basin Timelapse and the Center for Grassland Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is the first in a series of videos that will highlight the diverse grasslands found throughout Nebraska. Funding for this video was provided by the Dr. Kenneth C. Stout Grassland Studies Fund.