Grasslands are among the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. Home to bison, zebra, wildebeest, antelopes, rhino, and livestock, grasslands and savannahs comprise 80 percent of all agricultural land and support a billion people. Around the world, grasslands are being lost and degraded and must be protected and restored.
Grasslands occupy approximately 40 percent of the planet’s land surface. They account for 15 percent of global terrestrial carbon storage, 90 percent of which takes place below ground, making it more secure than forests. Grasslands and savannahs are rich habitats to herds of grazers, predators, flocks of birds, mongoose, ostrich, and more. In many places, they are shared with human pastoralists and their livestock. Grasslands are under threat. In the U.S., 40 percent of shortgrass and 99 percent of tallgrass prairie has been converted to cropland, and acres continue to be lost. These changes have cascading negative impacts, including on carbon sequestration, and need to be countered with protection and restoration.