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National Geographic

National Geographic
Grasslands go by many names. In the U.S. Midwest, they're known as prairies. In South America, they're called pampas. Central Eurasian grasslands are referred to as steppes, while in Africa they're named savannas. In fact, most grasslands are located between forests and deserts. There are two different kinds of grasslands: tropical and temperate. Tropical grasslands are warm year round, but usually have a dry and a rainy season. Temperate grasslands, which average between 10 and 30 inches (25 and 75 centimeters) of rain per year, have shorter grasses, sometimes just a few millimeters. The animals that live in temperate grasslands have adapted to the dry, windy conditions. When rainy season arrives, many grasslands become coated with flowers, some of which can survive well into winter with the help of underground storage organs and thick stem bases. No other habitat is as agriculturally useful to humans as grasslands.

Grasslands Biome 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. When the settlers of the United States moved westward, they found that the grasslands, or prairies as they called them, were more than just dry, flat areas. There are two different types of grasslands; tall-grass, which are humid and very wet, and short-grass, which are dry, with hotter summers and colder winters than the tall-grass prairie. Grassland biomes can be found in the middle latitudes, in the interiors of continents. by Sam M. 2000 Bibliography: Encyclopedia Britannica, 20th Edition

Grasslands Threats, Wetlands Threats - National Geographic A quarter of Earth was once covered by grasslands, but much of these have now been turned into farms. This has resulted in a widespread loss of wildlife habitat. Grassland soil is rich, and almost anything can be grown there. But poor agricultural practices can ruin soil and turn grassland into lifeless, barren spaces. If crops are not rotated properly, nutrients in the soil are stripped out, and nothing can be grown for several years. Threats Solutions Continue education efforts on how to protect the soil and prevent soil erosion.Protect and restore wetlands, which are an important part of grassland ecology.Rotate agricultural crops to prevent the sapping of nutrients.Plant trees as windbreaks.Conduct dry season burning to obtain fresh growth and to restore calcium to the soil that builds up in the dry grasses.

Temperate Grasslands Biome Temperate grasslands are a division of a larger biome grouping of grasslands that includes tropical savannas. Both biome types are characterized by a dominance of grasses, yet temperate grasslands differ significantly from savannas. First unlike savannas that can have trees and shrubs scattered throughout, temperate grasslands have trees and shrubs absent. Temperate grasslands are also found in less tropical ecosystems and thus have a larger temperate fluctuation during the year. Regional Expressions: Temperate Grasslands are found throughout the globe, generally in the interiors of the continents and north or south of the tropic of cancer/capercorn. Veldts of South Africa Puszta of Hungary Pampas of Argentina/Uruguay Steppes of Russia / China Plains and Prairies of North America Minor Expressions: There are smaller local expressions of grasslands as well. Australian Outback Minnesota Cedar Creek Region Soil: The soil of the temperate grasslands is deep and dark. Text is temporary.

Global Warming May Lower Grassland Quality -- ScienceDaily Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and air temperatures may lead to an increase in plant production, but a gradual decline in soil carbon and nitrogen. That's according to study findings reported by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Colorado State University (CSU) scientists in the April issue of New Phytologist. The findings were the result of combined modeling and experimental exercises that explored the impacts of both warming and rising atmospheric CO2 on the ecology of native Great Plains grasslands. The results supported findings from the group's earlier studies, which indicated that future environmental changes could lead to lower nitrogen concentrations in forage grasses. That condition could negatively affect animal performance, since grazing animals need nitrogen-rich vegetation to facilitate digestion. Plant physiologist Jack A.