Grassland

Dana Marie Villadsen

Grasslands

Grasslands are found on every continent except Antarctica. Grasslands are big open spaces.

Plants and Animals

There are not many bushes in the grassland. Trees are found only by rivers and streams. The grassland seems like an endless ocean of grass. Grasslands lack the trees and heavy bush to hide many creatures. Because of the open landscape and the widely spaced trees, grasslands are home to large herds of grazing mammals such as the zebra and bison.

Climate

Grassland biomes are large, rolling terrains of grasses, flowers and herbs. Latitude, soil and local climates for the most part determine what kinds of plants grow in a particular grassland. A grassland is a region where the average annual precipitation is great enough to support grasses, and in some areas a few trees. The precipitation is so eratic that drought and fire prevent large forests from growing. Grasses can survive fires because they grow from the bottom instead of the top. Their stems can grow again after being burned off. The soil of most grasslands is also too thin and dry for trees to survive.

Soils

Calcification is the dominant soil-forming process in semiarid regions. Mild leaching, high organic content, and concentration of calcium carbonate in the B horizon typifies the dark brown mollisols developed under the temperate grasslands.

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 (37.8°C). Rain in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The yearly average is about 20 - 35 inches (55 - 95 cm), 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.

People and the Tempature Grassland

One of the main environmental concerns regarding temperate grasslands is the conversion of grassland to farmland. 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.

Prairies

Prairies are generally humid and are densely covered in tall grass. There are very few trees on prairies, most of them usually found on hill slopes or more humid near springs and rivulets. The prairie soil is rich in nutrients and is ideal for the growth of plant life, which is why prairie regions have been exploited by farmers for centuries. Grazing animals such as oxen and bison who fed on the prairie grass were also exploited by humans, with the bison being driven to near extinction by hunters.

Concerns and Worries

They worry about the grasslands because it gets really hot. That there will be a lot of wildfires. Knowing there are hundreds maybe thousands of grasslands out there. They are all mainly dry. So if they were all to catch on fire, they wouldn't be able to put them all out. That is why they worry about wildfires in the grasslands.