Contents 1 Vegetation 2 Evolution 3 Climates 4 Biodiversity and conservation 5 Human impact and economic importance 6 Types of grasslands 6.1 Schimper (1898) 6.2 Ellenberg and Mueller-Dombois (1967) 6.3 Laycock (1979) 6.4 Other 6.4.1 Tropical and subtropical 6.4.2 Temperate 6.4.3 Flooded 6.4.4 Montane 6.4.5 Tundra prairies 6.4.6 Desert and xeric 7 Animals 8 See also 9 Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregions 10 Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregions 11 References 12 Further reading


Vegetation[edit] Grassland vegetation can vary in height from very short, as in chalk grassland, to quite tall, as in the case of North American tallgrass prairie, South American grasslands and African savanna. The Konza tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas. Woody plants, shrubs or trees, may occur on some grasslands – forming savannas, scrubby grassland or semi-wooded grassland, such as the African savannas or the Iberian dehesa.[1] As flowering plants and trees, grasses grow in great concentrations in climates where annual rainfall ranges between 500 and 900 mm (20 and 35 in).[2] The root systems of perennial grasses and forbs form complex mats that hold the soil in place.


Evolution[edit] Graminoids are among the most versatile life forms. They became widespread toward the end of the Cretaceous period, and fossilized dinosaur feces (coprolites) have been found containing phytoliths of a variety of grasses that include grasses that are related to modern rice and bamboo.[3] The appearance of mountains in the western United States during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, a period of some 25 million years, created a continental climate favorable to the evolution of grasslands. Existing forest biomes declined, and grasslands became much more widespread. Following the Pleistocene ice ages, grasslands expanded in range in the hotter, drier climates, and began to become the dominant land feature worldwide.[1]


Climates[edit] Grasslands often occur in areas with annual precipitation between 600 mm (24 in) and 1,500 mm (59 in) and average mean annual temperatures ranges from −5 and 20 °C (Woodward et al. 2004). However, some grasslands occur in colder (−20 °C) and hotter (30 °C) climatic conditions.[4] Grassland can exist in habitats that are frequently disturbed by grazing or fire, as such disturbance prevents the encroachment of woody species. Species richness is particularly high in grasslands of low soil fertility such as serpentine barrens and calcareous grasslands, where woody encroachment is prevented as low nutrient levels in the soil may inhibit the growth of forest and shrub species.


Biodiversity and conservation[edit] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Grasslands dominated by unsown wild-plant communities ("unimproved grasslands") can be called either natural or "semi-natural" habitat. The majority of grasslands in temperate climates are "semi-natural". Although their plant communities are natural, their maintenance depends upon anthropogenic activities such as low-intensity farming, which maintains these grasslands through grazing and cutting regimes. These grasslands contain many species of wild plants, including grasses, sedges, rushes, and herbs; 25 or more species per square meter is not unusual.[citation needed] Chalk downlands in England can support over 40 species per square meter. In many parts of the world, few examples have escaped agricultural improvement (fertilizing, weed killing, plowing or re-seeding). For example, original North American prairie grasslands or lowland wildflower meadows in the UK are now rare and their associated wild flora equally threatened. Associated with the wild-plant diversity of the "unimproved" grasslands is usually a rich invertebrate fauna; there are also many species of birds that are grassland "specialists", such as the snipe and the great bustard. Agriculturally improved grasslands, which dominate modern intensive agricultural landscapes, are usually poor in wild plant species due to the original diversity of plants having been destroyed by cultivation, the original wild-plant communities having been replaced by sown monocultures of cultivated varieties of grasses and clovers, such as perennial ryegrass and white clover. In many parts of the world, "unimproved" grasslands are one of the most threatened types of habitat, and a target for acquisition by wildlife conservation groups or for special grants to landowners who are encouraged to manage them appropriately.


Human impact and economic importance[edit] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Grassland in Cantabria, northern Spain. A restored grassland ecosystem at Morton Arboretum in Illinois. Grassland vegetation often remains dominant in a particular area usually due to grazing, cutting, or natural or man-made fires, all discouraging colonization by and survival of tree and shrub seedlings. Some of the world's largest expanses of grassland are found in the African savanna, and these are maintained by wild herbivores as well as by nomadic pastoralists and their cattle, sheep or goats. Grasslands may occur naturally or as the result of human activity. Grasslands created and maintained by human activity are called anthropogenic grasslands. Hunting peoples around the world often set regular fires to maintain and extend grasslands, and prevent fire-intolerant trees and shrubs from taking hold. The tallgrass prairies in the U.S. Midwest may have been extended eastward into Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio by human agency. Much grassland in northwest Europe developed after the Neolithic Period when people gradually cleared the forest to create areas for raising their livestock. The professional study of grasslands falls under the category of rangeland management, which focuses on ecosystem services associated with the grass-dominated arid and semi-arid rangelands of the world. Rangelands account for an estimated 70% of the earth's landmass; thus, many cultures including those of the United States are indebted to the economics that the world's grasslands have to offer, from producing grazing animals, tourism, ecosystems services such as clean water and air, and energy extraction.


Types of grasslands[edit] Schimper (1898)[edit] Grassland types by Schimper (1898, 1903):[5] meadow (hygrophilous or tropophilous grassland) steppe (xerophilous grassland) savannah (xerophilous grassland containing isolated trees) Ellenberg and Mueller-Dombois (1967)[edit] Grassland types by Ellenberg and Mueller-Dombois (1967):[6] Formation-class V. Terrestrial herbaceous communities A. Savannas and related grasslands (tropical or subtropical grasslands and parklands) B. Steppes and related grasslands (e.g. North American "prairies" etc.) C. Meadows, pastures or related grasslands D. Sedge swamps and flushes E. Herbaceous and half-woody salt swamps F. Forb vegetation Laycock (1979)[edit] Grassland types by Laycock (1979):[7] (1) tallgrass (true) prairie; (2) shortgrass prairie; (3) mixed-grass prairie; (4) shrub steppe; (5) annual grassland; (6) desert (arid) grassland; (7) high mountain grassland. Other[edit] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Tropical and subtropical[edit] These grasslands are classified with tropical and subtropical savannas and shrublands as the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. Notable tropical and subtropical grasslands include the Llanos grasslands of South America. Temperate[edit] Mid-latitude grasslands, including the prairie and Pacific grasslands of North America, the Pampas of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, calcareous downland, and the steppes of Europe. They are classified with temperate savannas and shrublands as the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. Temperate grasslands are the home to many large herbivores, such as bison, gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. Carnivores like lions, wolves and cheetahs and leopards are also found in temperate grasslands. Other animals of this region include: deer, prairie dogs, mice, jack rabbits, skunks, coyotes, snakes, fox, owls, badgers, blackbirds (both Old and New World varieties), grasshoppers, meadowlarks, sparrows, quails, hawks and hyenas. Negri-Nepote temperate grasslands in New Jersey Flooded[edit] Grasslands that are flooded seasonally or year-round, like the Everglades of Florida, the Pantanal of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay or the Esteros del Ibera in Argentina, are classified with flooded savannas as the flooded grasslands and savannas biome and occur mostly in the tropics and subtropics. Watermeadows are grasslands that are deliberately flooded for short periods. Montane[edit] Grassland in the Antelope Valley, California. High-altitude grasslands located on high mountain ranges around the world, like the Páramo of the Andes Mountains. They are part of the montane grasslands and shrublands biome and also constitute tundra. Tundra prairies[edit] Similar to montane grasslands, polar Arctic tundra can have grasses, but high soil moisture means that few tundras are grass-dominated today. However, during the Pleistocene ice ages, a polar grassland known as steppe-tundra occupied large areas of the Northern Hemisphere. These are in the tundra biome. Desert and xeric[edit] Also called desert grasslands, this is composed of sparse grassland ecoregions located in the deserts and xeric shrublands biome.


Animals[edit] Mites, insect larvae, nematodes and earthworms inhabit deep soil, which can reach 6 metres (20 ft) underground in undisturbed grasslands on the richest soils of the world. These invertebrates, along with symbiotic fungi, extend the root systems, break apart hard soil, enrich it with urea and other natural fertilizers, trap minerals and water and promote growth. Some types of fungi make the plants more resistant to insect and microbial attacks. Grassland in all its form supports a vast variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. Typical large mammals include the blue wildebeest, American bison, giant anteater and Przewalski's horse. While grasslands in general support diverse wildlife, given the lack of hiding places for predators, the African savanna regions support a much greater diversity in wildlife than do temperate grasslands.[8] There is evidence for grassland being much the product of animal behaviour and movement;[9] some examples include migratory herds of antelope trampling vegetation and African bush elephants eating acacia saplings before the plant has a chance to grow into a mature tree.


See also[edit] Ecology portal Environment portal Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grasslands. Appalachian bald Biomes Bunch grass Bushveld Cerrado Coastal plain Dambo Desert Field Flood-meadow Flooded grasslands and savannas Llanos Lowland semi-natural grassland Meadow Pacific grasslands Pampa Pasture Plain Plateau Prairie Savanna Sods Steppe Taiga Tundra Veld Water-meadow Wet meadow


Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregions[edit] The grassland Ecoregions of the Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome are: Afrotropic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Al Hajar Al Gharbi montane woodlands Oman Amsterdam and Saint-Paul Islands temperate grasslands Amsterdam Island, Saint-Paul Island Tristan da Cunha-Gough Islands shrub and grasslands Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island Australasia Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Canterbury-Otago tussock grasslands New Zealand Eastern Australia mulga shrublands Australia Southeast Australia temperate savanna Australia Nearctic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e California Central Valley grasslands United States Canadian aspen forests and parklands Canada, United States Central and Southern mixed grasslands United States Central forest-grasslands transition United States Central tall grasslands United States Columbia Plateau United States Edwards Plateau savanna United States Flint Hills tall grasslands United States Montana valley and foothill grasslands United States Nebraska Sand Hills mixed grasslands United States Northern mixed grasslands Canada, United States Northern short grasslands Canada, United States Northern tall grasslands Canada, United States Palouse grasslands United States Texas blackland prairies United States Western short grasslands United States Neotropic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Argentine Espinal Argentina Argentine Monte Argentina Humid Pampas Argentina Patagonian grasslands Argentina, Chile Patagonian steppe Argentina, Chile Semi-arid Pampas Argentina Palearctic temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Alai-Western Tian Shan steppe Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan Altai steppe and semi-desert Kazakhstan Central Anatolian steppe Turkey Daurian forest steppe China, Mongolia, Russia Eastern Anatolian montane steppe Armenia, Iran, Turkey Emin Valley steppe China, Kazakhstan Faroe Islands boreal grasslands Faroe Islands, Denmark Gissaro-Alai open woodlands Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan Kazakh forest steppe Kazakhstan, Russia Kazakh steppe Kazakhstan, Russia Kazakh Uplands Kazakhstan Middle East steppe Iraq, Syria Mongolian-Manchurian grassland China, Mongolia, Russia Pontic steppe Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria Sayan Intermontane steppe Russia Selenge-Orkhon forest steppe Mongolia, Russia South Siberian forest steppe Russia Tian Shan foothill arid steppe China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan


Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregions[edit] Afrotropic Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Angolan Miombo woodlands Angola Angolan Mopane woodlands Angola, Namibia Ascension scrub and grasslands Ascension Island Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia East Sudanian savanna Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda Eastern Miombo woodlands Mozambique, Tanzania Guinean forest-savanna mosaic Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo Itigi-Sumbu thicket Tanzania, Zambia Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe Mandara Plateau mosaic Cameroon, Nigeria Northern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda Northern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Uganda Sahelian Acacia savanna Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan Serengeti Kenya, Tanzania Somali Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia Southern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets Kenya, Tanzania Southern Africa bushveld Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe Southern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo Southern Miombo woodlands Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe Saint Helena scrub and woodlands Saint Helena Victoria Basin forest-savanna mosaic Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda West Sudanian savanna Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal Western Congolian forest-savanna mosaic Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo Western Zambezian grasslands Angola, Zambia Zambezian and Mopane woodlands Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe Australasia Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Arnhem Land tropical savanna Australia Brigalow tropical savanna Australia Cape York tropical savanna Australia Carpentaria tropical savanna Australia Einasleigh upland savanna Australia Kimberley tropical savanna Australia Mitchell grass downs Australia Trans Fly savanna and grasslands Indonesia, Papua New Guinea Victoria Plains tropical savanna Australia Indomalaya Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands Bhutan, India, Nepal Nearctic Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Western Gulf coastal grasslands Mexico, United States Neotropic Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Aripo Savannas Trinidad Beni savanna Bolivia Campos rupestres Brazil Cerrado Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay Clipperton Island shrub and grasslands Clipperton Island is an overseas territory of France Córdoba montane savanna Argentina Guianan savanna Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela Gran Chaco Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay Los Llanos Venezuela, Colombia Uruguayan savanna Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay Oceania Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands v t e Hawaiian tropical high shrublands Hawaiʻi Hawaiian tropical low shrublands Hawaiʻi Northwestern Hawaii scrub Hawaiʻi


References[edit] ^ a b University of California Museum of Paleontology Grasslands website. Ucmp.berkeley.edu. Retrieved on 2011-12-01. ^ NASA Earth Observatory webpage. Earthobservatory.nasa.gov. Retrieved on 2011-12-01. ^ Piperno, D. R.; Sues, HD (2005). "Dinosaurs Dined on Grass". Science. 310 (5751): 1126–8. doi:10.1126/science.1121020. PMID 16293745.  ^ EO Experiments: Grassland Biome. Earthobservatory.nasa.gov. Retrieved on 2011-12-01. ^ Schimper, A. F. W. 1898. Pflanzen-Geographie auf physiologischer Grundlage. Fisher, Jena. 876 pp. English translation, 1903, [1]. ^ Ellenberg, H. & D. Mueller-Dombois. 1967. Tentative physiognomic-ecological classification of plant formations of the Earth [based on a discussion draft of the UNESCO working group on vegetation classification and mapping.] Berichte des Geobotanischen Institutes der Eidg. Techn. Hochschule, Stiftung Rübel, Zürich 37 (1965-1966): 21—55, [2]. ^ Laycock, W.A. 1979. Introduction, pp. 1-2, in: French. N R. (ed.). Perspectives in Grassland Ecology. Springer, New York, 204 pp., [3]. ^ University of California – Santa Barbara Temperate Grasslands website. Kids.nceas.ucsb.edu. Retrieved on 2011-12-01. ^ How can grazing heal land?. ManagingWholes.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-01.


Further reading[edit] Courtwright, Julie. 2011. Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History. University Press of Kansas. 274 pp. French, N. R. (ed.). 1979. Perspectives in Grassland Ecology. Springer, New York, 204 pp., [4]. Suttie, J. M.; Reynolds, S. G.; C. Batello. 2005. Grasslands of the world. Rome: FAO. [5]. v t e Biogeographic regionalisations Biomes Terrestrial biomes Polar/montane Tundra Taiga Montane grasslands and shrublands Temperate Coniferous forests Broadleaf and mixed forests Deciduous forests Grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Tropical and subtropical Coniferous forests Moist broadleaf forests Dry broadleaf forests Grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Dry Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Deserts and xeric shrublands Wet Flooded grasslands and savannas Riparian Wetland Aquatic biomes Pond Littoral Intertidal Mangroves Kelp forests Coral reefs Neritic zone Pelagic zone Benthic zone Hydrothermal vents Cold seeps Demersal zone Other biomes Endolithic zone Biogeographic realms Terrestrial Afrotropical Antarctic Australasian Nearctic Palearctic Indomalayan Neotropical Oceanian Marine Arctic Temperate Northern Pacific Tropical Atlantic Western Indo-Pacific Central Indo-Pacific Tropical Eastern Pacific Subdivisions Biogeographic provinces Bioregions Ecoregions List of ecoregions Global 200 ecoregions See also Ecological land classification Floristic kingdoms Vegetation classifications Zoogeographic regions v t e Botany History of botany Subdisciplines Plant systematics Ethnobotany Paleobotany Plant anatomy Plant ecology Phytogeography Geobotany Flora Phytochemistry Plant pathology Bryology Phycology Floristics Dendrology Plant groups Algae Archaeplastida Bryophyte Non-vascular plants Vascular plants Spermatophytes Pteridophyte Gymnosperm Angiosperm Plant morphology (glossary) Plant cells Cell wall Phragmoplast Plastid Plasmodesma Vacuole Tissues Meristem Vascular tissue Vascular bundle Ground tissue Mesophyll Cork Wood Storage organs Vegetative Root Rhizoid Bulb Rhizome Shoot Stem Leaf Petiole Cataphyll Bud Sessility Reproductive (Flower) Flower development Inflorescence Umbel Raceme Bract Pedicellate Flower Whorl Floral symmetry Floral diagram Floral formula Receptacle Hypanthium (Floral cup) Perianth Tepal Petal Sepal Sporophyll Gynoecium Ovary Ovule Stigma Archegonium Androecium Stamen Staminode Pollen Tapetum Gynandrium Gametophyte Sporophyte Plant embryo Fruit Fruit anatomy Berry Capsule Seed Seed dispersal Endosperm Surface structures Epicuticular wax Plant cuticle Epidermis Stoma Nectary Trichome Prickle Plant physiology Materials Nutrition Photosynthesis Chlorophyll Plant hormone Transpiration Turgor pressure Bulk flow Aleurone Phytomelanin Sugar Sap Starch Cellulose Plant growth and habit Secondary growth Woody plants Herbaceous plants Habit Vines Lianas Shrubs Subshrubs Trees Succulent plants Reproduction Evolution Ecology Alternation of generations Sporangium Spore Microsporangia Microspore Megasporangium Megaspore Pollination Pollinators Pollen tube Double fertilization Germination Evolutionary development Evolutionary history timeline Hardiness zone Plant taxonomy History of plant systematics Herbarium Biological classification Botanical nomenclature Botanical name Correct name Author citation International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) - for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) Taxonomic rank International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) Plant taxonomy systems Cultivated plant taxonomy Citrus taxonomy cultigen cultivar Group grex Practice Agronomy Floriculture Forestry Horticulture Lists Related topics Botanical terms Botanists by author abbreviation Botanical expedition Category Portal WikiProject v t e Phytogeography: Vegetation classification Physiognomy Forests, woodlands, arboretum Shrublands, scrubs, thickets, fruticetum Dwarf-shrubland, subshrublands, dwarf-scrubs, suffruticetum Herbaceous communities, grasslands, steppes, prairies, herbetum Savannas, parklands Scarcely vegetated areas, desert vegetation Latitude Tropical Subtropical Temperate Subpolar Polar Climatic regime Pluvial, rainy, ombrophilous Cloudy Seasonal Drought Altitude Montane Submontane Lowland Coastal Leaves Loss of leaves Deciduous, caducifolious Semi-deciduous, semicaducifolious Evergreen, perennifolious Leaf hardness Sclerophyll, stiff leaves Orthophyll, hyptiophyll leaves Leaf form Aciculifolious, needle-leaved Latifolious, broad-leaved Substrate Terrestrial vegetation Aquatic vegetation Riparian Mangrove Swampy See also Biogeographic realms Biomes Floristic kingdoms Plant habits Plant life-forms Vegetation Authority control NDL: 01025306 Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Grassland&oldid=827032111" Categories: GrasslandsGrassesPoaceaeEcoregionsAgricultural landPlainsHidden categories: Wikipedia articles needing reorganization from March 2016Articles needing additional references from September 2012All articles needing additional referencesAll articles with unsourced statementsArticles with unsourced statements from September 2007Pages using div col with deprecated parameters


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