The Macalester prairie installation helps increase biodiversity on
campus, provides an area for education on native prairie ecosystems for
Macalester students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and retains and
filters run-off from Macalester's footballl field better than non-native grasses.
Native plant ecosystems have higher biodiversity and are more
sustainable than monocultures, such as those frequently found in lawns.
This provides a buffer in times of hardship, such as disease, use by
animals as food, or drought. Environments with high plant biodiversity
can support more species of microogranisms and animals, leading to even
higher biodiversity and stability. The plants best suited to an
environment are those that evolved within that environment. These
native plants form communities that are extremely well adapted to their
environment. In the case of the American Midwest, the native community
is the prairie. A healthy, mature prairie can tackle any of the hazards
of the Midwest: freezing winters, hot summers, drought, fire from
lightning, and grazing by large mammals.
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Last updated: 8/21/06