Firefighter walking towards wildfire in prairie grassNebraska’s Loess Canyons boasts fertile and productive mixed-grass prairie that supports grazing livestock. Nearly losing the prairie to invading trees such as the Eastern Redcedar, a band of landowners have joined together to do prescribed burns to preserve the integrity of the prairie. In 2020 alone, Nebraska ranchers lost 530,000 tons of forage due to invasive trees, according to data from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW). Fires are a natural part of the prairie lifecycle, where before European settlers began suppressing them, a fire was common every few years. They have been shown to keep trees at bay, recharge soil nutrients and spur new plants to grow.

For families that do prescribed burns on forage land, results didn’t take long to become evident. One such example, a Nebraska family noticed tree cover dropped from 50% to just 10%.

Read more on families burning prairie lands in the name of conservation and adequate livestock forage.