Illinois State Museum

painting showing Native Americans burning a prairie
Native Americans' Burning of the Prairie

Human Actions have Changed Illinois

Humans have altered the distribution and abundance of many native animal species by reducing availability of natural habitat. The timber wolf (Canis lupus) was once a major predator in Illinois. By the 1860s, habitat destruction and hunting eliminated them from the state.

Humans have introduced many new plants into local habitats. Agricultural plant species, such as corn and soybeans, have largely replaced native prairie grasses, such as big bluestem.