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Saving America’s Broken Prairie

Scientists call the American prairie one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Will it disappear forever?

OUT NEAR WHERE the continent divides, up on a ridge carved by ice over millennia, among blazing star, blue aster, purple prairie clover, harebell, and smooth brome — grasses all yet untouched by the plow — Neil Shook balls up some purple pasqueflower, shoves it into his nostril, and snorts.

He loves to do this …

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