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The Great Plains were once among the greatest grasslands on the planet. But as the United States and Canada grew westward, the Plains were plowed up, fenced in, overgrazed, and otherwise degraded. Today, this fragmented landscape is the most endangered and least protected ecosystem in North America. But all is not lost on the prairie.Through lyrical photographs, essays, historical images, and maps, the beautifully illustrated Great Plains - America's Lingering Wild gets beneath the surface of the Plains, revealing the lingering wild that still survives and whose diverse natural communities, native creatures, migratory traditions, and natural systems together create one vast and extraordinary whole.

 Three broad geographic regions in Great Plains are covered in detail, evoked in the unforgettable and often haunting images taken by Michael Forsberg. Between the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2008, Forsberg traveled roughly 100,000 miles across 12 states and three provinces, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, to complete the photographic fieldwork for this project, underwritten by The Nature Conservancy. Complementing Forsberg’s images and firsthand accounts are essays by Great Plains scholar David Wishart and acclaimed writer Dan O’Brien. Each section of the book begins with a thorough overview by Wishart, while O’Brien—a wildlife biologist and rancher as well as a writer—uses his powerful literary voice to put the Great Plains into a human context, connecting their natural history with man’s uses and abuses.

The Great Plains are a dynamic but often forgotten landscape—overlooked, undervalued, misunderstood, and in desperate need of conservation. This book helps lead the way forward, informing and inspiring readers to recognize the wild spirit and splendor of this irreplaceable part of the planet.

"The prairie is a minimalist landscape, anything but flashy. Forsberg 's discerning eye frames its sparse beauty in all its exquisite detail and lovely sweep. To spend time with this book is to understand why the Great Plains matter." - Chris Johns, editor, National Geographic Magazine

"The Great Plains of America are not for sissies, but those who respond to their haunting beauty will not be driven off. The photographer Michael Forsberg ... has spent a long time looking at the Great Plains and now he has shared what he saw." - Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove

"Great Plains strikes me as a signal event in the history of American publishing, a true event where the authors Ted Kooser, David Wishart, Dan O'Brien, and the simply fabulous photographer Michael Forsberg are a perfectly graceful mix. I have crisscrossed this area dozens of times, and it was wonderful to see my grand memories between covers." - Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall


 

MICHAEL FORSBERG is a Nebraska native and has focused much of his work in North America’s Great Plains, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. His goal has been to try to capture the wild spirit that still survives in these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there. His hope is that the images can build appreciation and go to work to inspire conservation efforts on the land far into the future. 

Mike received a degree in geography with an emphasis in environmental studies from the University of Nebraska, and worked briefly as a seasonal ranger in the National Park Service before accepting a job as a staff photographer and writer producing natural history stories for NEBRASKAland Magazine, the state’s conservation publication. He worked at the magazine for six years before starting his own photography business and gallery. Forsberg’s work has appeared in publications including Audubon, National Geographic, National Wildlife, and Natural History, and recognized in the Pictures of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. In 2001, his image of a Nebraska tallgrass prairie was selected for an International Postage Stamp. In 2004, he was awarded a Conservation Education Award from The Wildlife Society. 

 

In 2007, Mike was featured in the PBS documentary Crane Song, and was the 2009 recipient of the North American Nature Photographer’s Association Mission Award. Mike is a charter member of the North American Nature Photographer's Association and a fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. 

 

His second book, “Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild”, came together traveling 100,000 miles crisscrossing the Plains from Canada to Mexico. It explores the wildlife, habitats and conservation challenges in the heart of the continent, with essays by South Dakota writer and rancher Dan O’Brien. Released in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press, the book was supported with a major grant from the Nature Conservancy.

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