Back From the Collapse: American Prairie and the Restoration of Great Plains Wildlife (book)

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Back From the Collapse is a clarion call for restoring one of North America’s most underappreciated and overlooked ecosystems: the grasslands of the Great Plains. This region has been called America’s Serengeti in recognition of its historically extraordinary abundance of wildlife. Since Euro-American colonization, however, populations of at least twenty-four species of Great Plains wildlife have collapsed—from pallid sturgeon and burrowing owls to all major mammals, including bison and grizzly bears. In response to this incalculable loss, Curtis H. Freese and other conservationists founded American Prairie, a nonprofit organization with the mission of supporting the region’s native wildlife by establishing a 3.2-million-acre reserve on the plains of eastern Montana, one of the most intact and highest-priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the Great Plains.

Back From the Collapse Freese explores the evolutionary history of the region’s ecosystem over millions of years, as it transitioned from subtropical forests to the edge of an ice sheet to today’s prairies. He details the eventual species collapse and American Prairie’s work to restore the habitat and wildlife, efforts described by National Geographic as “one of the most ambitious conservation projects in American history.”

Curtis H. Freese, an ecologist, is cofounder of American Prairie and founding managing director of World Wildlife Fund's Northern Great Plains Program.  He formerly ran the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Latin America program and was World Wildlife Fund's vice president for conservation programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He is the author or editor of four books including American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines.


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Curtis H. Freese
Book Details:
paperback, 351 pages, 2023