The Earth is truly a paradise. With such diversity in its landforms, wildlife and many such aspects, it is rightly acclaimed to be god’s canvas. The diverse landforms that are found on the earth can be divided in to several biomes.
These are areas, which have their own soil structure, flora, fauna and other interrelated and interdependent factors. The physical factors like sunlight, temperature, rainfall, soil etc. decide the fate of the biological elements of the several ecosystems, which finally constitute the biomes.
Biomes: A General Discussion
If we aim at defining what actually a biome is, it is simply put, a geographical area that has its own characteristics like temperature, flora and fauna. According to the Walter system of classification, the biomes are – Equatorial, tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean, warm temperate, nemoral, continental, boreal and polar.
Temperate grasslands in general are area of very low vegetation and rainfall. These often called grasslands because of the obvious reason that grasses are the only things that can grow and proliferate well in these areas. These are called by different names in different continents.
The steppes in Asia or the African savannahs or the ranches in South America are all the same. Depending up on the location, the vegetation and wildlife may vary a little. Now, that is obvious because you would be called a lunatic if you search for lions in the States. Temperate grasslands can be thought as connectives between deserts and forests.
They are not as barren as the former but not as bountiful as the latter one. Mostly grasses are the predominant vegetation found but the length of the grasses varies largely. Rain is a big governing factor responsible for all these changes. If we talk about the seasons, it has two main variations, a growing and a dormant season.
Flora and fauna not terms that one would correlate often. Due to the sparse rainfall and the arid to semi- arid climatic conditions, not many flowers grow. Of the little blossom that springs up during the short spell of rains are mostly species from the astereace or legume family including peas or asters. Trifolium is another close relative of the grass family, which is found in the temperate grasslands.
The same story continues for the animals too. Though not diverse, they are abundant. Large beasts like bison, pronghorns and wild buffaloes are common in the prairies. Small rodents and weather resistant reptiles are also common.
Some Interesting Facts and Data
Now that you have an idea about what makes these areas, there are many facts, which are not only interesting but insightful too. The most interesting fact is that temperate grasslands are found in all continents except the continent of ice and massive snow, Antarctica. Yes, that is obvious because there is no soil in Antarctica!
Overgrazing by animals and excessive plowing for agricultural purposes are the biggest threats to these grasslands. Despite the fact that not much can grow naturally in the areas, it is very interesting to note that temperate grasslands are the most agriculturally productive regions of the world.
Wheat is the major bounty. On one hand, advancement in agriculture is a boon for us but due to the over exploitation, there have been many problems. The bread bowl of the world turned into the dust bowl in the 1930’s. it is an unfortunate piece of information out of the five prairie dog species, all are red listed. The Mexican breed is endangered and the Utah dog is highly vulnerable.