Temperate Grasslands

by David West, Jordan Pettaway, and Leo Ruiz

Basic Info.

A temperate grassland, not to be confused with a savannah, is a biome of vast, non-tropical flora that makes up the majority of the area’s vegetation. The fauna is not biologically-diverse, yet it is very abundant, with abundant ecosystem of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores.

Abiotic Factors

The temperature and climate vary greatly through the seasons, with summers reaching 100℉ and the winters dropping to subzero temperatures. Rainfall typically occurs most in the late spring and early summer, when the vegetation experiences the most growth. Temperate grasslands experience roughly 20-35 in. of rainfall annually.

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Location

Temperate grasslands are located 23.5 degrees North and 23.5 degrees South. The temperate grasslands that have the greatest impact on the earth’s biosphere are those of Africa, South America, and North America.


On the map below, the highlighted yellow portions represent the major temperate grasslands on Earth.

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Vegetation

Because temperate grasslands experience relatively-low amounts of rainfall, it is uncommon for tall plants, such as trees and shrubs, to grow there.


Buffalo grass is abundant in this biome due to a special adaption that allows it to resist droughts; also, because it is an autotroph, it extracts necessary energy from itself that it does not get from rainfall. Cacti are also very common, and they are able to survive thanks to the sharp spines that protect them from animals that may potentially want to consume them. Sunflowers are also abundant, due to the symbiotic relationships with the soil, which allow them to extract energy from the earth to keep them biologically resilient against overbearing heat.

Cacti (Cactaceae)

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Sunflowers (Helianthus)

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Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)

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Animals

American Bison (Bison Bison) are perhaps the animal most commonly associated with temperate grasslands, largely due to the fact that they survive so well in them; their many layers of wool keep them warm through the harsh winters, and shed during the summer to prevent them from overheating. Grey Wolves (Canis lupus) also thrive in this biome, thanks to the large, thick pads they have on their paws that allow them to run swiftly through the snow in pursuit of their prey. Prairie Dogs (Cynomys) are able to survive due to their sharp claws that allow them to dig burrows and find shelter from predators.

Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)

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American Bison (Bison Bison)

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Prairie Dog (Cynomys)

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Temperate Grassland
NATURE | Wolves Hunting Buffalo | Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo | PBS
Temperate Grasslands Biome

Work Cited

  • "American Bison, American Bison Pictures, American Bison Facts - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.
  • "Basic Facts About Gray Wolves." Defenders of Wildlife. N.p., 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 17 May 2016.
  • "Prairie Dogs, Prairie Dog Pictures, Prairie Dog Facts - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.
  • "Temperate Grasslands." Defenders of Wildlife. N.p., 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2016.
  • "The Grassland Biome." The Grassland Biome. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.