Temperate Grassland

By: Cora Fitzgerald

What is the Grassland Biome?

Temperate grassland have some of the darkest, richest soils in the world (not in wealth, but in nutrients). People who live in grassland regions often use these soils for farming. In North America we call temperate grasslands prairies.

What type of weather?

Temperatures in this biome vary greatly between summer and winter. The summers are hot and the winters are cold - much colder than Santa Barbara! With cold winters, it’s surprising how hot the grassland summers can get! Sometimes the temperature is more than 100°F. Rain in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The yearly average is about 20 - 35 inches, but much of this falls as snow in the winter. Fire is not foreign in temperate grasslands. They are often set by lightning or human activity. Fire regularly swept the plains in earlier times, and to some extent still does today.

What types of plants?

Grasses dominate temperate grasslands. Trees and large shrubs are rarely found in grassland areas. There are many species of grasses that live in this biome, including, purple needle grass, wild oats, foxtail, rye-grass, and buffalo grass.

What types of animals?

Some animals that inhabit temperate grasslands in North America are bison, antelope, birds, gophers, prairie dogs, coyotes, and insects. On the steppes you’ll find similar animals to the Great Plains including lynx, antelopes, falcons, and fox. Also like where I live there is livestock; such as cattle, horses, sheep, etc.

One fact

The rich soil is ideal for farming and grazing. With continual agricultural development and progress we have lost many of our natural grasslands. Instead of native grasses, now grasslands supply corn, wheat, and other grains, as well as grazing areas for domestic ungulates, such as sheep and cattle. The food supplied by farmlands is important, but so is this unique biome, and the plants and animals that live in the temperate grassland.