Learn more about Grassland

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Grasslands are very generally open and continuous, fairly flat area of grass. Grasslands are often located between temperate forests at high latitudes and deserts at subtropical latitudes. Grasses vary in size from 2.1 m (7 ft) tall with roots extending down into the soil 1.8 m (6 ft), to the short grasses only a few mm. tall.

Grasslands receive about 500 to 900 mm of rain per year compared to deserts, which receive less than 300 mm and tropical forests, which receive more than 2,000 mm. While temperatures are often extreme in some grasslands, the average temperatures are about -20 to 30 degrees Celcius. Tropical grasslands have dry and wet seasons that remain warm all the time. Temperate grasslands have cold winters and warm summers with rain or some snow.

The grasses die back to their feet annually and the soil and the sod protect the roots and the new buds from the cold of winter or dry conditions. A few trees may be found in this biome along the streams, but not many due to the lack of rainfall. Fires, natural and human-caused, are important in the maintenance of many grasslands.

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. Other anthropogenic grasslands include pasture, where forest or shrublands were cleared to create land for intensive grazing.

Tropical and subtropical 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.

Temperate grasslands are mid-latitude grasslands, including the Prairie of North America, the Pampa of Argentina, calcerous 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. Some of these include 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. These are just a small portion of the animals in the grassland biome. As the grasslands offer much shelter, there is not a large concentration of animals anywhere.

Flooded grasslands are 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, which occurs mostly in the tropics and subtropics.

Montane grasslands are 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.


Xeric grasslands or desert grasslands are sparse grasslands located in deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregions.


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