Illustration by Heidi Natura, 1995, of Living Habitats. Go to The Roaming Ecologist to see larger version. 80% of a prairie’s biomass is below ground, which is a part of the reason why prairies are the greatest soil carbon factories in the world. Those roots break up compacted soil, and as a portion of those roots die each year, they add organic matter and decompose into carbon, further enriching the soil; all of this is done without deadly pesticides or equally deadly petrochemical fertilizers
Previously I've posted on Foods Not Lawns and their wonderful work educating folks on the ease by which you can lighten the planet's load by simply digging up your lawn and planting a food garden there instead.
Now I want to revisit that theme by virtue of taking you to The Roaming Ecologist's treatise on Why Prairies Matter and Lawns Don't. Even if you don't want to grow food -- an admirable goal, feeding yourself, I must say -- the absolute, abject blindness to the wastefulness of resources that lawns represent is simply mind-boggling.
"Prairies matter because of their immense root systems; dense, sprawling, complex biological systems that store one third of the world’s carbon and subsequently clean our future water as it precipitates from moisture-laden clouds onto diverse plant communities, and filters down through the mass of litter, roots, soil organisms, and soil horizons. Water quality always follows soil carbon levels, and prairies are the best soil carbon factories in the world. Lawns do not compare and never will."
So! there you go! Get rid of that lawn, and you don't even have to work to grow food if you don't want to! Just grow some tall grasses and know Gaia will thank you.