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Encyclopedia > Grassland
The Konza tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas.
The Konza tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas.
A restored grassland ecosystem at Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
A restored grassland ecosystem at Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
Grassland in Cantabria, northern Spain.
Grassland in Cantabria, northern Spain.

Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses (Poaceae) and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants (forbs). Plants of the sedge (Cyperacae) and rush (Juncaceae) families can also be frequent in grasslands. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica, and in many other areas they have replaced the natural vegetation due to human influence. In temperate latitudes, such as north-west Europe, grasslands are dominated by perennial species, whereas in warmer climates annual species form a greater component of the vegetation.[1] Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 535 pixelsFull resolution (2272 × 1520 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 535 pixelsFull resolution (2272 × 1520 pixel, file size: 1. ... Konza in spring with herd of bison in distance The Konza Prairie Preserve is a 3487-hectare (8,616 acre, 13. ... Prairie grasses The tallgrass prairie is an ecosystem native to central North America, with fire as its primary periodic disturbance. ... The Flint Hills are a group of hills in eastern Kansas, extending from Marshall County in the north, to Cowley County in the south. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Download high resolution version (2592x1944, 1933 KB)On Inner Mongolia Grassland. ... Download high resolution version (2592x1944, 1933 KB)On Inner Mongolia Grassland. ... Inner Mongolia (Mongolian: ᠥᠪᠦᠷ ᠮᠣᠨᠺᠤᠯᠤᠨ ᠥᠪᠡᠷᠲᠡᠺᠡᠨ ᠵᠠᠰᠠᠬᠤ ᠣᠷᠤᠨ r Mongghul-un bertegen Jasaqu Orun; Chinese: 内蒙古自治区; Hanyu Pinyin: N i Měnggǔ Z qū) is an Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 526 pixelsFull resolution (2048 × 1346 pixel, file size: 391 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Photograph of the Morton Arboretums grassland environment, as taken on 18 September 2001 by Dustin M. Ramsey. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 526 pixelsFull resolution (2048 × 1346 pixel, file size: 391 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Photograph of the Morton Arboretums grassland environment, as taken on 18 September 2001 by Dustin M. Ramsey. ... The main entrance to the arboretum. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... For the Mesozoic island Cantabria, see Cantabria (Mesozoic island). ... Aerial view of mixed aspen-spruce forest in Alaska Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover life forms, structure, spatial extent or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. ... For other uses, see Grass (disambiguation). ... Subfamilies There are 7 subfamilies: Subfamily Arundinoideae Subfamily Bambusoideae Subfamily Centothecoideae Subfamily Chloridoideae Subfamily Panicoideae Subfamily Pooideae Subfamily Stipoideae The true grasses are monocotyledonous plants (Class Liliopsida) in the Family Poaceae, also known as Gramineae. ... This article is about the plants used in cooking and medicine. ... A forb is a flowering plant with a non-woody stem that is not a grass. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...


Grasslands can be found in most terrestrial climates. Grassland vegetation can vary in height from very short, as in chalk downland where the vegetation may be less than 30 cm high, to quite tall, as in the case of North American tallgrass prairie, South American grasslands and African savannah. Woody plants, shrubs or trees, may occur on some grasslands - forming wooded, scrubby or semi-wooded grassland, such as the African savannahs or the Iberian dehesa. Such grasslands are sometimes referred to as wood-pasture or savannah woodland. Grasslands cover nearly fifty percent of the land surface of the continent of Africa.[2] While grasslands in general support diverse wildlife, given the lack of hiding places for predators, the African Savanna regions support a much greater diversity in wildlife than do temperate grasslands.[3] Terrestrial literally means of the earth and is used in a variety of contexts: In biology and in the general sense, terrestrial means indicates ground-dwelling (compare aquatic). ... A downland is an area of open chalk upland. ... Political highlights of North America North America is the third largest continent in area and the fourth ranked in population. ... Prairie grasses The tallgrass prairie is an ecosystem native to central North America, with fire as its primary periodic disturbance. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Savannah redirects here. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...


The appearance of mountains in the western United States during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, a period of some 25 million years, created a continental climate favorable to the evolution of grasslands. Existing forest biomes declined, and grasslands became much more widespread. Following the Pleistocene Ice Ages, grasslands expanded in range in the hotter, drier climates, and began to become the dominant land feature worldwide.[4] The Miocene Epoch is a period of time that extends from about 23. ... The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts) is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5. ... The Pleistocene epoch (IPA: ) on the geologic timescale is the period from 1,808,000 to 11,550 years BP. The Pleistocene epoch had been intended to cover the worlds recent period of repeated glaciations. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ...


As flowering plants, grasses grow in great concentrations in climates where annual rainfall ranges between 500 mm and 900 mm (approximately 20 to 35 inches).[5] The root systems of perennial grasses and forbs form complex mats that hold the soil in place. Mites, insect larvae, nematodes and earthworms inhabit deep soil, which can reach 6 meters (about 20 feet) underground in undisturbed grasslands on the richest soils of the world. These invertebrates, along with symbiotic fungi, extend the root systems, break apart hard soil, enrich it with urea and other natural fertilizers, trap minerals and water and promote growth (Chadwick 1995). Some types of fungi make the plants more resistant to insect and microbial attacks.

Contents

Climate and grasslands

Grasslands receive about 380 to 900 mm (15 to 36 in) of rain per year, as compared with deserts, which receive less than 300 mm (12 in) and tropical rainforests, which receive more than 2,000 mm (80 in).[6] While extreme temperatures may occur in some grasslands, normally they range between -20 to 30 degrees Celsius.[citation needed] Tropical grasslands have dry and wet seasons, but remain warm all the time.[citation needed] Temperate grasslands have cold winters and warm summers with rain or some snow. Since some grasses die back above ground annually,[citation needed] the soil and the sod protect the roots and the new buds from the cold of winter or dry conditions. A dune in the Egyptian desert In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives little precipitation. ... Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, also known as tropical rain forests, are a tropical and subtropical biome. ... Loess field in Germany Surface-water-gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland For the American hard rock band, see SOiL. For the System of a Down song, see Soil (song). ...


Grassland biodiversity and conservation

Grasslands dominated by unsown wild-plant communities ("unimproved grasslands") can be called either natural or 'semi-natural' habitats. The majority of grasslands in temperate climates are 'semi-natural', although their plant communities are natural, their maintenance depends upon anthropogenic activities such as low-intensity farming. Farming maintains these grasslands through grazing and cutting regimes. These grasslands contain many species of wild plants - grasses, sedges, rushes and herbs - 25 or more species per square metre is not unusual.[citation needed] Chalk downlands in England can support over 40 species per square metre. In many parts of the world, few examples have escaped agricultural improvement (fertilising, weed killing, ploughing or re-seeding). For example, original North American prairie grasslands or lowland wildflower meadows in the UK are now rare and their associated wild flora equally threatened. Associated with the wild-plant diversity of the "unimproved" grasslands is usually a rich invertebrate fauna; also there are many species of birds that are grassland "specialists" - for example snipe, or the Great Bustard. Agriculturally improved grasslands, which dominate modern intensive agricultural landscapes, are usually poor in wild plant species due to the original diversity of plants having been destroyed by cultivation,[citation needed] the original wild-plant communities having been replaced by sown monocultures of cultivated varieties of grasses and clovers, such as Perennial ryegrass and White Clover.[citation needed] In many parts of the world "unimproved" grasslands are one of the most threatened habitats, and a target for acquisition by wildlife conservation groups or for special grants to landowners who are encouraged to manage them appropriately. For other uses, see Snipe (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Otis tarda Linnaeus, 1758 The Great Bustard, Otis tarda, is a very large bird in the bustard family. ... Binomial name Lolium perenne L. Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is a tufted grass from the family Poaceae. ... For other uses, see Clover (disambiguation). ...


Human impact and economic importance

Grasslands are of vital importance for raising livestock for human consumption and for milk and other dairy products.


Grassland vegetation remains dominant in a particular area usually due to grazing, cutting (such as for hay), or natural or man-made fires, all discouraging colonisation by and survival of tree and shrub seedlings.[citation needed] Fire was used in North America by the Native Americans as a means of maintaining grassland.[citation needed] Some of the world's largest expanses of grassland are found in African savannah, and these are maintained by wild herbivores as well as by nomadic pastoralists and their cattle, sheep or goats.[citation needed]


Grasslands may occur naturally or as the result of human activity. Grasslands created and maintained by human activity are called anthropogenic grasslands. Hunting peoples around the world often set regular fires to maintain and extend grasslands, and prevent fire-intolerant trees and shrubs from taking hold. The tallgrass prairies in the American Midwest may have been extended eastward into Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio by human agency. Much grassland in north-west Europe developed after the Neolithic Period, when people gradually cleared the forest to create areas for raising their livestock. For other uses, see Prairie (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... For other uses, see Indiana (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. State. ...


Types of grassland

Tropical and subtropical grasslands

These grasslands are classified with tropical and subtropical savannas and shrublands as the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. Notable tropical and subtropical grasslands include the Llanos grasslands of northern South America. This article is about grassland. ... Shrubland is a habitat type dominated by woody shrubs. ... Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands are a grassland biome located in semi-arid to semi-humid climate regions of subtropical and tropical latitudes. ... Los Llanos (meaning the flat plains) is a vast tropical grassland plain situated at the east of the Andes in northwestern South America (Colombia and Venezuela). ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ...


Temperate grasslands

Mid-latitude grasslands, including the Prairie of North America, the Pampa of Argentina, calcareous downland, and the steppes of Europe. They are classified with temperate savannas and shrublands as the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. Temperate grasslands are the home to many large herbivores, such as bison, gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. Carnivores like lions, wolves and cheetahs are also found in temperate grasslands. Other animals of this region include: deer, prairie dogs, mice, jack rabbits, skunks, coyotes, snakes, fox, owls, badgers, blackbirds, grasshoppers, meadowlarks, sparrows, quails, and hawks. For other uses, see Prairie (disambiguation). ... North American redirects here. ... This article is about the lowland plains in South America. ... A downland is an area of open chalk upland. ... This article is about the ecological zone type. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... A restored Illinois grassland ecosystem at Morton Arboretum. ... In zoology, an herbivore is an animal that is adapted to eat primarily plants (rather than meat). ... Species †B. antiquus B. bison B. bonasus †B. latifrons †B. occidentalis †B. priscus Bison in winter. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Zebra (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Rhinoceros (disambiguation). ... This article is about genetically wild horses which have never been domesticated. ... This article deals with meat-eating animals. ... For other uses, see Lion (disambiguation). ... Wolf Wolf Man Mount Wolf Wolf Prizes Wolf Spider Wolf 424 Wolf 359 Wolf Point Wolf-herring Frank Wolf Friedrich Wolf Friedrich August Wolf Hugo Wolf Johannes Wolf Julius Wolf Max Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf Maximilian Wolf Rudolf Wolf Thomas Wolf As Name Wolf Breidenbach Wolf Hirshorn Other The call... This article is about the animal. ... This article is about the ruminent animal. ... Species Cynomys gunnisoni Cynomys leucurus Cynomys ludovicianus Cynomys mexicanus Cynomys parvidens The prairie dog (Cynomys) is a small, burrowing rodent native to the grasslands of North America. ... This article is about the rodent. ... Genera Lepus Caprolagus Pronolagus Hares and Jackrabbits belong to family Leporidae, and mostly in genus Lepus. ... Polecat redirects here. ... For other uses, see Coyote (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ... This article is about the animal. ... For other uses, see Owl (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Badger (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Blackbird (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Grasshopper (disambiguation). ... Species Meadowlarks are birds belonging to the genus Sturnella in the New World family Icteridae. ... For other uses, see Sparrow (disambiguation). ... This article is about the bird. ... For other uses, see Hawk (disambiguation). ...


Flooded grasslands

Grasslands that are flooded seasonally or year-round, like the Everglades of Florida or the Pantanal of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. They are classified with flooded savannas as the flooded grasslands and savannas biome and occur mostly in the tropics and subtropics. Map of the Everglades ecoregion as delineated by the WWF. Satellite image from NASA. The yellow line encloses two ecoregions, the Everglades and the South Florida rocklands. The South Florida rocklands ecoregion includes the Florida Keys and offshore islands and two patches within the Everglades. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland area, a flat landscape, with gently sloping and meandering rivers. ... Flooded grasslands and savannas are a biome, generally located at subtropical and tropical latitudes, where flooding is very frequent. ...


Montane grasslands

High-altitude grasslands located on high mountain ranges around the world, like the Páramo of the Andes Mountains. They are part of the montane grasslands and shrublands biome, and also constitute alpine tundra. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Espeletia (Frailejón) plant in the Venezuelan páramo. ... See also architecture with non-sequential dynamic execution scheduling (ANDES). ... Montane grasslands and shrublands is a biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund. ... In physical geography, tundra is an area where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. ...


Polar grasslands

Similar to montane grasslands, arctic tundra can have grasses. However high soil moisture means that few tundras are grass-dominated today. However, during the Pleistocene ice ages, a polar grassland known as steppe-tundra occupied large areas of the Northern hemisphere. In physical geography, tundra is an area where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. ... The Pleistocene epoch (IPA: ) on the geologic timescale is the period from 1,808,000 to 11,550 years BP. The Pleistocene epoch had been intended to cover the worlds recent period of repeated glaciations. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... Steppe Tundra - an open landcape with climatic conditions unable to support a dense forest population but a perfect climate for small shrubbery such as arid grass and cottonwood. ...


Xeric grasslands

Also called desert grasslands, these are sparse grasslands located in deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregions. In isolation, Hawaiis Silverswords have adapted to xeric microclimates within volcanic craters, trapping and channeling dew and protecting leaves with reflective hairs. ...


See also

A coastal plain is an area of flat, low-lying land adjacent to a seacoast and separated from the interior by other features. ... Dambo is a word used for a class of complex shallow wetlands in central, southern and eastern Africa, particularly in Zambia and Zimbabwe. ... This article is about arid terrain. ... A green field or paddock In agriculture, a field refers generally to an area of land enclosed or otherwise and used for agricultural purposes such as: Cultivating crops Usage as a paddock or generally an enclosure of livestock Land left to lie fallow or as arable land See also Pasture... Flooded grasslands and savannas are a biome, generally located at subtropical and tropical latitudes, where flooding is very frequent. ... Flood-meadow near Hohenau an der March A flood-meadow (or floodmeadow) is an area of grassland or pasture beside a river, subject to seasonal flooding. ... Los Llanos (meaning the flat plains) is a vast tropical grassland plain situated at the east of the Andes in northwestern South America (Colombia and Venezuela). ... A meadow is a habitat of rolling or flat terrain where grasses predominate. ... This article is about the lowland plains in South America. ... Pastureland Pasture is land with lush herbaceous vegetation cover used for grazing of ungulates as part of a farm or ranch. ... In geography, a plain is a large area of land with relatively low relief. ... For other meanings, see Plateau (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Prairie (disambiguation). ... This article is about grassland. ... This article is about the ecological zone type. ... For other uses, see Taiga (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tundra (disambiguation). ... south american veldt The term Veld, or Veldt, refers primarily to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub. ... A water-meadow (or watermeadow) is an area of grassland or pasture beside a river, subject to controlled seasonal flooding. ... A wet meadow is a semi-wetland meadow which is saturated with water throughout much of the year. ...

References

  1. ^ NASA Earth Observatory webpage
  2. ^ University of California Museum of Paleontology Grasslands website
  3. ^ University of California- Santa Barbara Temperate Grasslands website
  4. ^ University of California Museum of Paleontology Grasslands website
  5. ^ NASA Earth Observatory webpage
  6. ^ University of California Museum of Paleontology Grasslands website

  Results from FactBites:
 
Grassland (418 words)
Grasslands stretch basically thousands of miles primarily in the continents of North America and Asia.
Rainfall in the grasslands is somewhere between the amount of precipitation temperate forests and deserts receive.
The Grasslands soil is usually deep, dark, and rich, called mollisols, in drier regions it is called aridisols.
World Biomes - Grassland (484 words)
Grassland biomes are unaltered areas of land where grass is the dominant plant life, as opposed to other terrestrial biomes where trees occupy most of the land surface.
Grassland are found around the globe and have served as grazing areas for a large number of animals, and have been exploited as farming grounds or plantations by humans.
Grassland are generally semi-arid areas with little or no trees, and are inhabited by grazing mammals, ground-nesting birds, insects, and a few species of reptiles.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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