Locations of Grasslands • Grasslands are located in the middle latitudes, in areas with too much rain for deserts and too little for forests (yellow to the right). • Savannas are located near the equator (pink to the right). They have short wet seasons and long dry seasons.
Temperate Grasslands • In Europe, temperate grasslands are called steppes. In North America, they are called prairies. • There are three types of grasses which dominate temperate grasslands: shortgrasses, midgrasses, and tall grasses.
Grass Types • Shortgrasses grow where the climate is the driest, and once dominated the Great Plains. • Tall grasses appear in the wettest parts of the grassland. • Midgrasses fill the spaces between areas of tall grasses and shortgrasses.
Tropical Grasslands • Tropical grasslands, also called savannas, cover much of Africa, and parts of India, Australia, and South America. • They are covered by clumps of grasses, as short as a few centimeters or as tall as ten feet, with acacia, baobab, and palm trees interspersed.
Seasons in the Savanna • During the dry season, which is exceptionally long and distinct in tropical grasslands, grasses and trees wither and die, many times being consumed in raging fires. • When the wet season returns, grasses grow at incredible rates, up to 2.5 centimeters a day.
Animals in the Grassland • Animals in the temperate grassland primarily are smaller grazing animals. • Larger animals in the temperate grassland are almost entirely grazing animals. • Bison at one point dominated the North American grassland.
Animals in the Savanna • Animal life on the savanna is extremely diverse, far more so than the temperate grassland • Life consists of everything from small grazers, like hyraxes, to large grazers, like zebras, to predators, like lions, to fast grazers in woody areas, like dik-dik, to slow grazers in watery areas, like hippos.
Overuse of Grasslands • Grassland is the most overused biome in the world. • Over 70% of all agriculture occurs in grasslands. • The European Steppe and the Great Plains have almost completely disappeared to overdevelopment.