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Planning for preservation of grasslands and all environmental resources is essential for the long-term well-being of the environment and humans. The interrelated nature of all resources of the physical world requires sustainable practices to maintain productivity and life. Recognition that the often-overlooked resource of grasslands is foundational to economic, environmental, and political stability of the region leads to the conclusion that planning for the long-range health of grasslands is essential to the economy as well as to the environment. Part II of this article explores the history of grasslands of the Midwest. It identifies the historical mismanagement of grasslands and focuses on the lessons to be learned from past catastrophes, from a time that lacked protections for assuring sustainability. Part III describes the recent growth of agribusiness and the need for profitable uses of grasslands as part of the nation’s economic mission. Part IV provides examples of innovative and evolving protections for the prairie grasslands from examples of laws, state and federal programs, and organizations and people seeking to provide support for the long-term. Part V examines longstanding disputes regarding the relative benefits and claims on grasslands. It considers the need for a unifying principle such as sustainability to balance competing goals of use and future use of the grasslands of Kansas. Part VI concludes with observations on irreducible minimums for protection of finite resources and policies for balancing the use and preservation of the grasslands.

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Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy