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Reserve Management

Our approach to land management and biodiversity restoration is built around the Freese Scale for Grassland Restoration.

Developed by conservation biologist Dr. Curt Freese with Dr. Kyran Kunkel and Dr. Sam Fuhlendorf, the Freese Scale identifies the ten major ecological drivers for restoring and conserving biodiversity on temperate grasslands. This scale can be used by land managers trying to achieve a balance between agricultural production and biodiversity as well as those, like the Reserve, which are solely focused on maximizing native prairie biodiversity.


Download a background summary on the Freese Scale and read the peer-reviewed article in Ecological Restoration on our Reports page



Each year, Reserve staff, along with input and data from experts, partners, and the Landmark program, rate the regions of American Prairie Reserve according to the Freese Scale. The total score for a particular area is recorded and retained, allowing for annual comparisons. Armed with this information, we decide what approaches in management could lead to an improved score for a particular area of the Reserve. Here's what a sample scoring sheet looks like:

2015 Freese Scale Rankings

PDF icon Freese Scale Rankings by Management Unit (2015)