On planet earth you can find a great variety of vegetation , all with their own and different characteristics. One of these types is the herbazal , in which predominates especially grasslands , plants that greatly favor the growth of low vegetation cover . This type of vegetation is also very easy to find practically on all continents and being easily accessible, it has been greatly altered by humans, thus damaging the natural vegetation of the area.
What is a grassland?
A grassland is a place in which you can find a great predominance of grass plants or herbs and that are usually found in places where there have been long periods of drought and rains causing the growth of the plants.
- Grassland characteristics
- Fauna in the grassland
- Importance of grassland
Among its main features can be found the following:
- They arose during the Cenozoic Era , approximately 65 million years ago.
- Droughts are very common in them .
- Its vegetation is quite varied.
- They have a large amount of land full of grass and shrubs .
- They are found covering about a quarter of the total land area.
- They are also known by the names of prairies , steppes , savannas , pampas and plains which are considered as natural grasslands .
- Usually they are places open , continuous and planes full of grass.
- They are areas prone to fires naturally and those that are caused by man.
- Most of the fires that occur in the area are caused by lightning strikes in the area.
- The amount of rain they receive does not give them the ability to grow a significant number of trees, which is why they are scarce.
There are three types of grasslands that are explained below.
This type of grassland is mainly dominated by grass and lacks large trees or shrubs. They can be found meadows wet and dry in which are given summers very hot and winters very cold . The upper layer of its soils is quite rich in nutrients, however, fires are also frequent, preventing the growth of trees.
They are located mainly in areas that are close to the Equator and their climates are characterized by being warmer and more humid . Its periods of drought are more pronounced and in them there are pastures with the presence of some trees that are located in a scattered way. The soil of this type of grassland has the ability to drain water quite easily and it is common to find them in Africa, India, Nepal and South America.
It is found mostly in semi-arid deserts and its pastures are short. They do not have the presence of trees or shrubs with the exception of those that are born on the banks of the rivers that irrigate them.
Fauna in the grassland
Its fauna contains a great variety of different animal species. It is very common to find large animals such as African elephants, prairie dogs, animals that live in burrows, zebras, gazelles and giraffes. Coyotes, foxes and a great variety of birds inhabit the place.
The grasses that are located in the grasslands generally have a size that varies from 2 meters to 1.8 meters . They are characterized by having roots that extend below the ground and it is also possible to find small grasses that only reach an approximate height of between 20 and 25 centimeters which have shallow roots.
The flora of the grassland will always depend on the amount of rain it receives. It is normal for this type of grass to die once a year, but the soil and the grass that remains on the surface take care of protecting the new shoots from winter and dry weather conditions . Some trees can be found in the area but in small numbers mainly due to the lack of rain.
The grassland climate is mainly based on a dry and a rainy season . Intense fires are common during drought. The climate is quite hot and also has high levels of humidity .
Grassland temperatures can vary considerably between winter and summer. It is common to find summer quite warm and cold winters . The temperate ones are a bit drier and warmer than the tropical ones and are also cooler. The temperature can vary and reach 40 ° C. Its average temperatures range from 18 ° C to 28 ° C during the summer.
The rains are present mainly at the end of the spring period and their annual averages are around 55 and 95 millimeters . Depending on where they are located, rain can also come in the form of snow . Its rains are not enough for significant tree growth to occur.
Grasslands can be found in various parts of the world and it is common to see them in tropical and subtropical areas , in places where the temperate climate predominates and in montane scrub areas as in the case of alpine grasslands. They are mainly located in the Great Plains of North America, in the pampas located in South America , in the Savannah of South Africa , in the steppes of Central Eurasia and in most of the deserts found in and around Australia .
Importance of grassland
Grasslands are of great importance for life primarily because they contain a great variety of biodiversity on their lands and also, they are part of the culture and social values of many places where they are located. They are places that, according to scientists, have the ability to help supply good water currents , regulate their flow at the same time , mitigate climate changes , help improve pollination of plants and have the ability to store carbon. and reduce and control land erosion .
They are places that are also used in an important way for grazing and from them good quantities of hay are obtained for the food of some species.
Some examples of grasslands are as follows:
- Buffalo National Grassland.
- Highveld meadow southeast of Johannesburg.
- California grassland.