Temperate Grasslands Case Study

Case Study detailing the characteristics of the temperate grasslands biome.

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  • Created by: Liz Hunt
  • Created on: 05-05-09 14:03
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Temperate Grasslands
By Liz Hunt LC
Temperate grasslands cover a quarter of the earth, and despite many being degraded to
grass by human developments, many still exist in their original state. They are found in less tropical
ecosystems of the world, such as the Prairie in North America, the Pampa of Argentina and the
steppes of Europe, forming part of the temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands biome. They
are flat, treeless, and have a very rich soil. Temperatures within these ecosystems vary from cold
winters to hot summers, and fluctuations impact greatly on growing seasons. With the considerable
amount of rainfall affecting the heights of the grasses, these are the predominant vegetation taller
grasses are found in wetter grasslands. The average rainfall in these regions is between 1030
inches, and this plays an important part in which areas are grasslands as trees cannot grow in areas
where the upper layers of soil are moist for part of the year and where deeper layers are dry. Drought
and fire also play a big part in the maintenance of temperate grasslands as they prevent trees taking
over. The soil within the temperate grasslands is deep and dark, nutrient rich from the amount of
decay from grass roots and their many branches.
In terms of biodiversity, there are many different species of plant and animal in this biome.
Grasses often found within this ecosystem include purple needlegrass, blue grama and buffalo grass.
Although not all types of animal can be found in all temperate grasslands, common fauna includes
rhinos, wolves, badgers, hawks and spiders. Specific to the Prairie, Northern Harriers, Fox Snakes
and Meadow Voles can all be found.
A major issue concerning temperate grasslands is that many prairie regions have been
transformed into farms or grazing lands. Ploughing of the grasslands and strong winds have also
resulted in huge dust storms, such as the Big Dust Bowl in America in the 1920s. To add to this, in
dryer areas where there is overgrazing and build up of salt of from irrigation the area becomes a


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