The Waterman and Hill-Traveller's Companion, a Natural Events Almanac
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Hill Prarie

A second prairie type in our area is what has come to be called the Hill Prairie or Barrens. These prairies are tiny in size and are dominated by short-grass species - principally Little Bluestem. In our area they're found (usually) on the edges of cliffs where shallow, quickly drained soils and exposure to drying winds and sunlight preclude the growth of trees.

It is believed that the Hill Prairies in our area date from the Younger Dryas era that occurred roughly seven to eight thousand years ago. During this time the midwest dried up and forests retreated into the great river valleys. Uplands were covered with short grass prairies similar to those found today in Wyoming and eastern Colorado. Our current Hill Prairie flora and fauna is believed to be descended from these formerly widespread arid grasslands.

The information on this page is tailored to Southern Illinois, Southwest Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Southeast Missouri

Copyright © 2004 Jim Jung