Before Euro-American settlement, graceful prairies and prairie-wetland complexes dominated Iowa's rolling landscape, with forest communities hugging rivers and streams and savannas or forests covering the southern and eastern portions of the state. During the last 150 years these original natural communities have nearly been eliminated by conversion of over 95 percent of the land to agricultural and urban uses.
This timely, practical book combines a nontechnical natural history of each native community with a how-to manual for lay restorationists dedicated to reconstructing prairies, forests, and wetlands. Thompson intelligently presents the collective experience of professionals active in restoring the splendid natural areas of Iowa and the greater Midwest—discussing site selection, site preparation, plant species, planting techniques, costs, and maintenance of restoration areas. She includes a useful list of sources for plant materials in and near Iowa as well as information on the birds and mammals, reptiles and amphibians of these landscapes. Prairies, Forests, and Wetlands will help individual landowners, farmers, landscape architects, D.O.T. engineers, teachers, botanists, county conservation boards, and wildlife area managers in their private and professional campaigns to reclaim Iowa's land.