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. [Prairie Burning] 2. Why do biologists burn grasslands and prairies?

c. To keep the prairie from becoming a forest.

Historically, wildfires played a very important role in shaping prairies. Fire keeps brush from growing as well as trees and allows the soil to warm up quickly, causing grasses and other prairie plants to grow back rapidly. Prairies once covered 2 million acres of Wisconsin. Today they are scarce. As Europeans arrived, they converted the treeless, fertile prairies into crop fields and controlled the sweep of wildfires. Less than 12,000 scattered acres remain in Wisconsin. As grasslands disappear, so do the animals that depend on them. In order to protect and maintain the variety of prairie plants and animals, special restoration techniques, such as prescribed or controlled burning, can give grasslands a chance to grow back. Fire in this case, is the seed of life!

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