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Plants and Animals:
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|Left to Right: Henslow's Sparrow, Joe Milosovich; Eryngium stem-borer, James R. Wicker Prairie vole, John L. Tveten|
concentration of Natural Areas in Illinois is located in
northeastern portion of the state (White, 1978), which is also the
part of the state undergoing the greatest development. Thus,
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the 22 conservation areas
occurring within a 12-miles radius are especially important,
because as a whole they constitute an open space large enough to
support breeding and migratory behavior necessary for the continued
survival of many species of plants and animals.
Midewin is unique in both its size and diversity of habitats which alone are capable of supporting a wide range of plants and animals. Woodlands, upland forests, groves, savannas, and floodplain forests all occur at Midewin, as well as the rare dolomite prairie. Several other prairie types either currently exist at the site or did so in the past and are subjects for restoration. In addition, numerous permanent and seasonal wetlands occur. Midewin has at least 16 state listed endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. Five others, two insects, two birds, and one amphibian, are candidates for federal listing as endangered or threatened. Leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosum), a federally endangered plant, and hairy false mallow (Malvastrum hispidum), a candidate for federal listing, are present at Midewin. Overall, the site is home to 348 species of native plants and over 108 species of breeding birds. The four streams and other wetlands support 9 species of freshwater mussels and 23 species of amphibians and reptiles. At least 25 insect species on the site are dependant upon the native vegetation for survival, and 27 species of mammals occur at Midewin.
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