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Plant Extinctions & Declines

One of the grandest trees of the North American forest is absent from most forests today because of a disease brought across the ocean in the bark of its distant Asian relatives.  The chestnut once was the primary food crop of the southeastern forest.  Today chestnut trees can be found in the forest, but these are usually just stems from a mature tree that long ago died and continues to fight against an infection of blight.

 
Habitat has also been altered leading many plants to extreme declines.  As pioneers crossed the United States heading west they encountered rich fertile land in the midwest where no trees grew.  By lighting a fire vast prairies could be changed into farmland with little effort.  Today 97% of the tallgrass prairies in the United States have disappeared.  
   
   
   
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