Date of this Version
Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2020.
As an agricultural state with a population poised to shift to primarily urban based, Nebraska is in the unique position of being able to decide how people live in modern cities. While the benefits of including green spaces in urban areas are well documented, evidence also suggests that increased biodiversity in these areas compounds those benefits. As such, incorporating elements of functioning natural ecosystems within urban areas can potentially create pockets of sustainable landscapes. Nebraska’s two largest population centers are located on land that was historically tallgrass prairie, an iconic landscape in American history and now almost entirely absent from Nebraska today. Using plant species from tallgrass environments for urban landscaping, such as Big Bluestem grass or Eastern Cottonwood, not only preserves a part of natural history but also improves environmental elements responsible for significant ecological services with direct monetary value.