Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1996


Published in Great Plains Research 6:2 (Fall 1996). Copyright © 1996 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This book stems from a symposium entitled "Conservation of Great Plains Ecosystems: Current Science, Future Options" held in Kansas City in April of 1993, the purpose of which was to forge a "Great Plains regional environmental initiative." The editors explain what this means in an introduction that also summarizes the book's contents and offers recommendations: only with integrated community-based management of identifiable ecosystems, they argue, can the Great Plains avoid further severe ecological distress. The most highly touted word in the volume is "sustainability," the most castigated, "monoculture." And who could disagree with that?

Conservation of Great Plains Ecosystems is organized into eight sections containing twenty-five chapters altogether. After the first section, which introduces the ecosystem concept, each successive one deals with Great Plains resources-community and economic, biological, land, water, mineral, and agricultural. A final section proposes management initiatives, including detailed recommendations for implementing the new initiative.