Temperate Grasslands

By Alan M Pelletier II

Grasslands are large areas of fertile land that is used for farming and livestock. They are full of all types of life, including Americas Bald Eagle, Bison and the Swift Fox. It is extremely flat with grass that can reach up to ten feet with plenty of wild flowers that I guarantee you have never seen before. The North America Prairie is approximately 1.4 million square miles. Being a grassland, it is a transition between temperate forest and the mountains. The North America Prairie is located east of the Rocky mountains. Being extremely flat, there is average weather change with decently regular seasons, temperatures averaging around 15 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, and during the summer temperatures are around 72 degrees Fahrenheit with average humidity.
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Human Impacts

Humans have taken much of this land, and converted it to cropland. Full of nutrients and receiving just enough water creates a perfect place to provide food for America. This can be seen a a benefit, but it also impact the land in a harsh way, humans use pesticides, and mutate the seeds of food to grow faster. This is not healthy for the natural species that live in the area, killing many of the insects that help the flower population expand.

Humans have also burned much grassland, this releases a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. America runs on production, production of items and food. Genetically mutating animals where they grow faster and larger than normal creates a hungry animal. This is where major overgrazing comes into play. Overgrazing has a large impact on the nutrients in the soil, and created the inability for grasses to repopulate.

All of these factors can be helpful to human population, but it hurts the natural grassland that is home to many species.

Things to do and see

The North America Prairie is full of hiking trails, tours, wildlife watching, and scenic sites. Driving on long country roads, being showed whats what and what is in the area is a special scenic tour that many choose to do. Also, for those who are professional and think they can handle long hiking trails where they can smell nature and hear the animals go along with their lives, the North America prairie has plenty of hiking trails. Hunting is also common within these areas, coyotes, fish, and more. One of the "must-sees" in the prairie is the Fourchette Bay Scenic Overlook where everything gets beautiful, do not forget your camera!

Plants and their adaptations

Big Blue-stem grass, Buffalo grass, Indian grass, milkweed, Purple Cone flower, and stinging nettle are all producers that are very popular in grasslands.

They have all adapted to grow taller than the other species to receive more sun. Roots of plants have adapted to grow very deep, to keep moisture during droughts. Perennial grasses have adapted to bud below ground, so it is fire resistant to fire, and minor droughts.

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Animals and their adaptations

Bald Eagles, Badgers, bobcats, coyotes, prairie dogs, and swift foxes are all predators that live within grasslands. Cows, Bison, and antelope are consumers of the grass and flowers.

Adaptations: Antelope, being able to see predators coming, have adapted to run quickly away from danger. Small mammals have adapted their front paws, to be able to big burrows underground to keep away from predators. Coyotes have adapted to hunt in packs to have an advantage over prey. All animals have adapted their skins to create camouflage and have also adapted their digestive systems to process large amounts of grass.

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Miller Jr. TM, Spoolman SS. 2011. Natural Capital Degradation [Internet]. Sixteenth Edition . Belmont(CA); [2011, cited 2016 Jan 29] Available from: Living in the Environment

Temperate Grassland Ecosystem [Internet]. 2013. [cited 2016 Jan 31] . Available from: https://wildtracks.wordpress.com/world-ecosystems/grassland-ecosystems/temperate-grassland-ecosystem/