Illinois is called the "prairie state" apparently because it was the first state European settlers encountered that had extensive areas of tallgrass prairie. In the early 1800's, 60% (22,000,000 acres) of the state had prairie vegetation, but today only 2,200 acres of high quality prairie remain and most of the remnants are less than 12 acres. Nearly the entire prairie was converted to agriculture.
The motto for the conference emphasizes that prairies in Illinois range from small remnants in pioneer cemeteries, that were never plowed and are the best representatives of historic prairie vegetation in Illinois, to landscape scale prairie restorations of 1,000s of acres, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (US Forest Service) and the Nachusa Grasslands (The Nature Conservancy).
The Conference consisted of Field Trips, Contributed Oral Presentations, Posters, Breakout Discussion Groups, Plenary Speakers, and two Invited Oral Presentation Sessions on Landscape Scale Restorations and Grassland Birds. A wide range of topics were considered including prairie restorations and reconstructions, fire effects on grassland birds, prairie insects and other invertebrates, management methods including patch burn grazing, fire season and frequency, prairie mutualists and parasites, pollination, urban prairies, and seeds of prairie plants.
Submissions from 2016
01. From Cemetery Prairies to National Tallgrass Prairies: Proceedings of the 24th North American Prairie Conference, Roger Anderson and Chris Benda
02. My Career in Prairie Research and Restoration, Peter Schramm
03. Population Demographics of the Loggerhead Shrike: Insights into the Species Decline from a Long-Term Study in the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Amy A. Chabot, Fran Harty, James Herkert, and William Glass
04. Population Trends of Breeding Grassland Birds at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, 1985–2015, James R. Herkert and William D. Glass
06. Pilot Study: Limitations to Pollination and Ovary Development in the Small White Lady’s-Slipper (Cypripedium candidum), Marie Faust and John A. Harrington
07. The Effects of Seed Mix Diversity on Soil Conditions and Nesting of Bees in Prairie Restorations, Nicholas Anderson and Alexandrea Harmon-Threatt
08. Strengthening Karner Blue Butterfly Metapopulations, John Shillinglaw
09. Matching Long-Term Fire Effects Research to Pressing Questions Facing Tallgrass Prairie Managers across the Upper Midwest, Tom Bragg, Craig Maier, and Yari Johnson
10. Browsing by White-Tailed Deer on Invasive Oriental Bittersweet Spreading into Restored Grasslands, Neal Mundahl and Bruno Borsari
12. Results from Four Decades of Successional Prairie Restoration and an Update on Ecological Land Management at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, Ryan E. Campbell and Jacques L. Hooymans
14. Ten Years of Vegetation Observations on Formerly Grazed Oklahoma Grassland, Erica A. Corbett and Tim Patton
16. A Comparison of Soil Biodiversity in Restored Prairie Plots and Agricultural Fields at a Biomass Production Farm in Southeastern Minnesota, Bruno Borsari, Neal Mundahl, and Malcolm Vidrine