Grasslands cover about 40 percent of North America and comprise a good bit of the North Carolina landscape as well. There are grasslands along the coast (salt and brackish marshes, canebreaks), in the Piedmont (prairies) and on mountain tops (balds). Wherever trees are eliminated (clearcuts, old fields, farm meadows), grasses begin to grow in a stage of forest succession. What links them all is a liberating sense of open space.