Temperate Grassland – Definition, Features, Facts

Introduction to Temperate Grassland 

Grasslands make up approximately a quarter of the total land surface. Climate plays an important role in the formation of grasslands. Grasslands are divided into two major categories which are temperate grassland and tropical grassland.

Plants mainly depend on the climate and soil. Therefore, the plants of temperate grasslands have a uniqueness of their own. In this topic, we will see details about Temperate Grasslands.

temperate grassland

Definition of temperate grassland

Grasslands are defined as places where grasses are dominating the trees and shrubs. Two major kinds of grasslands in the world are Savannas and Temperate grasslands.

Temperate grasslands are characterized by the predominant vegetation i.e. grasses. Temperate grasslands generally have no trees. Temperatures can vary very much in this biome.

In winters, the temperatures can be too low. In contrast, in summer, the temperature can reach more than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Prairies have long grasses whereas steppes have short grasses, but both are Temperate Grasslands. The three most important features of temperate grasslands are their climate, soil and flora and fauna.

Features of the Temperate Grassland

Different types of grasslands have some similar characteristics. Savannas have scattered trees and exist in certain parts of Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Temperate grasslands are largely devoid of trees with less rainfall than savannas.

Steppes have shorter grasses whereas prairies have taller grasses due to higher precipitation. Both types of temperate grasslands exist throughout North America and Europe.

Climate of Temperate Grassland

These grasslands have a temperate climate with cold winters and hot summers. The temperatures can vary from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rainfall plays a major role in the characteristics of the grasslands. The wetter regions produce longer grasses which experts call as prairies in North America, pampas in South America and the veldt in Africa. But the drier regions produce shorter grasses that call as steppes.

For Prairie’s annual rainfall varies between 20 and 35 inches. For Steppes annual rainfall varies between 10 and 20 inches. Mostly rainfall is occurring in the spring and early summer. North America, South America, and Africa have prairies, whereas steppes occur in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Soil in Temperate Grassland

The grassroots grow much deep and have many branches. The decay of roots produces a deep, dark, coherent soil rich in nutrients and with fertile upper layers. These provide nutrients to the many kinds of grass and grassland plants that grow here.

Grasslands Animals and Plants

Grasses make up the grassland plants life. But, still, there are many species of flowers that grow there. Seasonal drought, wildfires in the grass prevents the growth of large trees and shrubs. But willows, oaks, and cottonwoods grow where water is available.

Animals such as prairie dogs, wild horses, bison, jackrabbits, wolves, and deer live in the American prairies. The African veldt is having a varied group including gazelles, zebra, and rhinoceroses. Steppe fauna also includes rabbits, mice, antelope, badgers, foxes, and many others.

Some facts Regarding Temperate Grassland

  • 25% of the Earth’s surface comprises the grassland biome.
  • Grassland biomes are mainly between a forest and a desert.
  • Grassland animals need the prairie dog to survive, but the population is decreasing.
  • Almost around 2% of the original prairies of North America still exist.
  • Fires on grasslands can spread as fast as 600 feet per minute.
  • Forbs are the leafy and soft-stemmed plants that grow in the grasslands that aren’t grasses.
  • Prairie dogs live in burrows under the prairies.
  • The grasslands of Prairies were the home of native Americans who are “Red Indians”.
  • Chinook is a hot wind that blows in winter and therefore raises the temperature within a short period of time.
  • The Veld name was given by the Dutch settlers. It was before when South Africa was colonized by the British.

Solved Question For You

Q: What are some examples of temperate grasslands?

Ans: Some examples are:

  • Plains and Prairies of North America
  • Steppes of Russian and China
  •  Pampas of Argentina and Uruguay
  • Puszta of Hungary
  • Veldts of South Africa

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