Above: This natural Piedmont Prairie in the eastern portion of our study area may be one of the more diverse examples in VA.

An Assessment of Native Grasslands of the Central Virginia Piedmont


Devin Floyd, Project Manager and Co-Principal Investigator

J. Leighton Reid, Co-Principal Investigator

The Piedmont region of Eastern North America is considered the most lived-in ecological region on the continent. Modern humans have managed to occupy, modify, and impact nearly all parts of it. Tens of millions of people live there and suppress a natural world they often don’t know exists. There is a general lack of awareness of the unique and remarkable biodiversity of the Piedmont. Even some practitioners in the conservation community have written the region off as one vast abandoned agricultural landscape. This generalization is dangerous for the protection of the natural spaces that survive andit undermines the potential for restoration. Add to this fact the myth of the pre-colonial “virgin forest” and it’s no wonder our society has collective amnesia around the topic of natural Piedmont Grasslands! As Reed Noss so pointedly puts it in the title of his seminal book, these are the “Forgotten Grasslands of the South”.

Hiding in millions of small and forgotten places are the whispers of a rich natural world that not only echoes the past, but speak of a future of wondrous potential. The biologically rich grasslands that have been suppressed for centuries are not lost. We must make room for them to expand and thrive. It is not too late for most of the thousands of animal species that rely upon them, and now is the time to act.

Before we can make room natural grasslands, or begin to inspire others to love and steward them, we must learn how to see them. We must first objectively consider their quantity, variety, distribution, and condition. With that purpose in mind, we propose conducting a survey of the high quality grasslands of the Central Virginia Piedmont.

Click on the headings below to expand the sections of the proposal. Also, click here to view an up-to-date map of grassland remnants that have been surveyed thus far.


Description of Methodology

Description of Activities and Responsibilities


Evaluation of Survey Results and Project Review

Description of Project Deliverables

Plans for Sustaining the Project