Prairie ecosystems maintain soil and water quality and nutrient cycling because they are perennial and have diversity.


"If we look to the planet's many different natural, land-based ecosystems for answers on how to effectively manage soil and water resources in our agricultural systems, the plant communities in nearly all of them have two critical attributes in common: perennialism and diversity. This holds true from tropical rainforests to temperate-zone grasslands…While in many cases we cannot entirely rewind the tape by converting annually cropped land back to diverse perennial plantings, there is ample evidence that reverting back to vegetative structures more closely resembling that of the previous natural system provides substantial benefits in terms of improved soil and water quality and nutrient cycling." (Glover 2003:1)

Characteristics and impacts of annual vs. perennial systems

Plain Shortwing BeetleGracilia minutaSpecies