Trees versus grass

Cheyenne Bird Banter

Western Meadowlark The Western Meadowlark is a grassland bird that is easy to see, hear and identify. Photo courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Published April 18, 2002, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, “Human interference changes age-old battle between grasslands, forests.”

2014 Update: I’ve heard the pine beetle epidemic hit the Black Hills hard. It will be easier to find the 1874 expedition’s photographic landmarks for a 140-year comparison.

By Barb Gorges

Which is better? Trees or grass? Here on the Northern Great Plains there’s a line of skirmish wherever the grasslands meet ponderosa pine.

Historically, whenever a company of pines marches down the hill and attempts to take the valley, the grasslands fight back, first with dense root mats, then with the occasional fire.

In the thickest coniferous forest, where sunlight hardly reaches the bare forest floor, there isn’t much bird song. The few kinds of birds found…

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