Grasslands in the World

Grasslands are found in the areas with no enough rainfall for a growth of a forest, but it is adequate to support the growth of grasses. The grasslands can be said as a connecting link between desert and forests.

The grasslands can be defined as an area where the vegetation is dominated by grasses. These are found on all continents except Antarctica. The grasslands are one of the largest biome on earth. It supports a variety of species. For example, African Savana feeds animals including zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, and giraffes.

Grasslands hold about 20 percent of global soil carbon stocks. Herbaceous (non-wooded) vegetation dominates grasslands and, unlike forests, carbon is stored in the roots and soil underground. Furthermore, this above-ground biomass carbon is relatively short-lived due to grazing, fire, and senescence. In contrast, grassland species have an extensive fibrous root system, with grasses often accounting for 60-80% of the biomass carbon in this ecosystem.

Degradation of Grasslands: The Grasslands are most threatened ecosystems. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the most significant threat to grasslands is human land use, especially agriculture and mining.

Types of Grasslands

Mainly the grasslands are subdivided in two types, namely

  • Tropical and subtropical Grasslands
  • Temperate Grasslands

Some other types of grasslands:

  • Flooded
  • Montane
  • Tundra grassland
  • Desert and Xeric

Tropical and subtropical Grasslands:

Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs is a terrestrial biome defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The biome is dominated by grass and/or shrubs located in semi-arid to semi-humid climate regions of subtropical and tropical latitudes.

For tropical and subtropical grassland type the rainfall level is between 90 and 150 Cm per year.

The tropical grasslands are home for variety of species like elephant, giraffe, lions, cheetah, zebra etc.

Example of some tropical grasslands:

  • Savannah- East Africa
  • Compos- Brazil
  • Llanos- situated to the east of Andes in Cambodia and Venezuela, in north-western South America.

Temperate Grasslands

Temperate grasslands are Mid-latitude grasslands and similar to tropical grassland but the climatic conditions are different.  The temperate grasslands consist cold withers and warm summers with 25cm and 75 cm rainfall annually.

The best example of temperate grasslands are Shrub lands. The temperate grass land is classified as Temperate grasslands, savannahs, and shrublands.

These grasslands are home for many animals such as bison, gazelles, zebras, rhinoceros, wild horses, mice, rabbit’s other carnivores animals like lion, wolves, cheetah, leopard, prairie dogs, etc.

Example of Temperate Grasslands:

  • Pampas- Argentina
  • Prairie- America
  • Veld-South Africa
  • Steppe-Asia
  • Down-Australia

Flooded Grasslands:

Flooded grasslands are those grasslands that are flooded seasonally or year-round.

Example of flooded grasslands:

  • Everglades of Florida: everglades are the world largest rain fed flooded grassland.
  • The Pantanal of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay

Montane Grasslands:

The Montane are high-altitude grasslands located on high Mountain ranges. Example of Montane grassland is Paramo a high altitude ecosystem of the Andes Mountain.

Tundra Grasslands:

These are similar to montane grassland, Polar Arctic tundra can have grasses, but high soil moisture means that few tundras are grass-dominated today.

Desert and Xeric Grasslands:

Also called desert grasslands, they are composed of sparse grassland ecoregions located in desert and xeric shurbland biome. Temperature extremes and low amount of rainfall characterise these kinds of grasslands. Therefore, plants and animals are well adapted to minimize water loss.

List of grasslands of the world

List of important grasslands in the world are given in the table below:

Grasslands Regions
Steppe

  • Steppes occur in temperate climate, have seasonal temperature changes with cold winter and warm summers.
  • Steppes are semi-arid which receive 25 to 50 cm rain annually.
  • Eurasian steppe is largest temperate grassland of the world.
Europe and North Asia

 

(Eurasia and Europe)

Pustaz Hungary
Prairies

Prairies ecosystem is a part of Temperate Grassland

USA

(North America USA Canada)

Pampas Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay

(South America)

Veld South Africa
Downs Australia
Canterbury New Zealand
Savannah Africa and Australia

The largest area of Savannah found in Africa, South America, Australia, Asia (India), etc.

Taiga Europe and Asia
Llanos Cambodia and Venezuela

(South America)

Compos Brazil

 

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassland

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