The Trilateral Committee Endorses the Development of a Coordinated Approach for Grassland Conservation in the United Mexican States, the United States of America and Canada

The central grasslands of North America occupy a broad swath of the midcontinent that was once a contiguous ecosystem stretching from what is today southern Canada to northern Mexico. These grasslands are home to a plethora of wildlife, including some unique species that occur nowhere else on earth. These grasslands hold an important biogeographical role in separating forested ecosystems to the east and west and have rich historical and present significance to many nations and people. Today, all North America’s grassland types are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems, and grassland bird populations suffer some of the steepest declines of any group of birds on the continent.
A Letter of Intent (LOI) signed at the annual Canada Mexico U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (Trilateral Committee) meeting on June 30, 2023, by the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales – Dirección General de Vida Silvestre (DGVS); the Department of the Interior- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Environment Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). 
It provides a framework for the following agencies to renew and strengthen their collaborative efforts to preserve the grasslands of the Great Plains of North America: Comision Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO), the Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) and the Direction General de Vida Silvestre (DGVS) of SEMARNAT, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and United States Geological Survey (USGS), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
This LOI has been jointly created by the Migratory Birds, Ecosystem Conservation, and Species of Common Conservation Concern working tables. The LOI recognizes the need to develop further expertise in ecological restoration, agriculture (“grass-based economies”) and agricultural policy, human dimensions, and social sciences relevant to land-use and land-management choices, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and cultural expertise, fire ecology, climatology, continent-wide geospatial tracking of grassland extent and condition, and other disciplines with a bearing on the maintenance of ecosystem function and grassland species.
In addition to being a home for unique wildlife and places of deep cultural and spiritual meaning, grasslands are also “working landscapes” and essential for food production. Grasslands and the diversity of people and worldviews they support require landscape-level, innovative, cooperative, and interdisciplinary approaches to conservation. Existing international collaboration examples include:
Featured projects

Some of the successful efforts underway, which will benefit from renewed support and increased collaboration, include: 

Our Partners


Canada: Patrick Nantel, Parks Canada

Mexico: Humberto Berlanga, The National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO)

United States: Annie Little, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Dena Cator

Canada Wildlife Service

Leonel Francisco Urbano Gutierrez

General Direction of Wildlife (SEMARNAT-DGVS)

Valencia Richardson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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