Duke Forest staff are working to maintain a “Piedmont prairie” which aims to benefit North Carolina’s botanical roots. Records dating from the time of European colonization indicate that local vegetation consisted of a vast mosaic of forests and native grasslands. However, “settling” of the land resulted in changes in succession patterns through agricultural clearing, reduction in fire and introduction of non-native species. Today, fragmentation and urbanization also threaten natural systems. With the help of botanists and volunteers, the staff restored a field in the Blackwood Division to one of these historical ecosystems.