Energy is an integral part of our society. United States coal, oil, natural gas, and wind energy are concentrated in the grassland states enabling them to be large net exporters of energy. Some of the largest increases of oil and gas extraction in the past 10 years have occurred in the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana, and the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. Wind energy installations and grassland conversion to cropland for biofuels have also increased.
As energy demand continues to increase, increasing pressure will be placed on our North American grassland systems. The tradeoff between the need and desire for energy and the conservation of lands within the grassland region leads to some difficult management choices. Identifying the ecological costs of energy production can aid managers as they work to avoid and minimize environmental issues as well as lead to the development of new technologies to aid in conservation.
This project aims to:
Through an extensive review of the literature by experts in wildlife ecology, grassland restoration, plant ecology, and air quality, we aim to produce:
These syntheses will be published electronically as general technical reports or as peer-reviewed journal articles.