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Entries : Chicago Wilderness
Chicago Wilderness

Chicago Wilderness

In the 1970s, the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory identified the 610 highest-quality forests, prairies, and wetlands surviving in the state. The high-quality lands surviving in Illinois represented seven-hundredths of 1 percent of the original. Most high-quality unpreserved lands in the Chicago area were subsequently acquired by state, county, and local conservation agencies. Major initiatives to restore and maintain conservation lands have brought the conservation agencies in the Chicago region to the forefront of the development of the discipline of ecological restoration and management. There is said to be more grassland and forest acreage under restoration in metropolitan Chicago than in any other area—urban or rural—in the Midwest.

In 1995, the Chicago Region Biodiversity Council (“Chicago Wilderness”) was formed. This collaboration of over one hundred organizations includes research and education institutions; federal, state, and local agencies; not-for-profit groups; and others. Their mission is to create a culture of conservation for the Chicago region, centered on the region's 200,000 acres of conservation land.