The topic “Major grasslands of the world” is very important for Static GK and also for World Geography.
Grassland is an important ecosystem in nature. A grassland is a vast area of short grass that supports animals and a variety of insects. It covers about 25% of the total land surface of the Earth.
These grasslands are known by different names in different countries such as Llanos in Venezuela, Veld in South Africa, etc.
Grasslands are also very important for competitive exams. Often in various competitive exams, grassland names and respective country names are asked.
So, In this article, we provide a complete note on “Major Grasslands of the world”
What are Grasslands?
▪ Broadly speaking, grasslands are defined as large tracts of land dominated by many types of grasses and grass-like plants.
▪ According to UNESCO, grassland is defined as “land covered with herbaceous plants with less than 10 percent tree and shrub cover” and “wooded grassland as 10-40 percent tree and shrub cover”.
Characteristic features of grasslands
▪ Grassland ecosystems receive very limited annual rainfall. Forests do not grow in this region due to limited rainfall.
▪ These are also prone to drought and erratic rainfall. Different grasslands measure different annual rainfall.
▪ Savanna grasslands receive an annual rainfall of 76.2–101.6 cm, whereas, in southeastern Europe or Siberia, annual rainfall ranges from 25.4–50.8 cm.
▪ In temperate grasslands, extreme temperature variations are observed throughout the year.
▪ The temperature in the temperate grasslands gets very hot up to 38°C during the summer season.
▪ Whereas in the winter season, it drops down to -40 degree Celsius and it becomes very cold.
▪ The climate of savanna grasslands is warm throughout the year. On the other hand, temperatures in savanna grasslands do not vary much. It ranges between 21-26 degrees Celsius.
Regular fire in the grassland
▪ Due to the dry climate and flash lighting, the dry grass catches fire quite easily. Regular fire in grasslands increases the growth of grasses in fields, but this limits plant growth and it is the primary reason for the lack of large trees in grasslands.
▪ A dry climate and low rainfall are major causes of weak vegetation in a grassland ecosystem. Grasses in grassland ecosystems have adapted to the region’s climate better than trees.
Types of grasslands
▪ There are two main types of grasslands around the world:
- Tropical Grassland and,
- Temperate Grassland
What is tropical grassland?
▪ Tropical grasslands contain a mixture of trees and grasses, with the tree-to-grass ratio varying directly with rainfall.
The climate of tropical grassland
▪ Rainfall ranges from 50 cm to 130 cm in tropical grasslands.
▪ Both monsoon and dry days are warm throughout the year.
▪ They have a tropical continental climate with alternating wet and dry seasons.
Tropical grassland location
▪ Tropical grasslands are located near the equator, between the Tropics of Cancer and the Tropics of Capricorn.
▪ Tropical grasslands are commonly found in the interior of continents between tropical rainforests and tropical deserts.
Example of tropical grassland
▪ Tropical Grasslands are also known as ‘Savannahs’.
▪ Some of the important grasslands are __
☛ Savanna (East Africa)
☛ Campos (Brazil)
☛ Llanos (Venezuela).
What is temperate grassland?
▪ Temperate grasslands have more grasses or shrubs than plants. Unlike tropical grasslands, temperate grasslands are rich in nutrients in the soil.
The climate of Temperate grassland
▪ Temperate grasslands receive rainfall in the range of 25 cm and 75 cm.
▪ The extreme climate of the grass makes it both dominant and growing.
▪ The precipitation in these grasslands is mostly in the form of dew and snow.
Example of tropical grassland
☛ Argentina- Pampas
☛ America- Prairie
☛ South Africa- Veld
☛ Asia- Steppe
☛ Australia- Down
Other types of grasslands are floodplain grasslands, Tundra grasslands, Montane grasslands and xeric grasslands.
Important grasslands of the world
Is Taiga a Grassland? ▪ Taiga is a boreal (meaning northern) forest or snow forest found throughout the high northern latitudes, between the tundra and the temperate forest. ▪ Taiga, meaning "land of small sticks" in Russian, derives its name from the collective term for Russia's northern forests, particularly Siberia. ▪ The forest characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches. ▪ It occupies about 17 percent of the Earth's land surface area in a circular belt in the far northern hemisphere. ▪ Although the taiga is a boreal forest, parts of the region, such as the Far East of Russia and the semiarid region of North America (Yukon and Alaska), are considered grasslands.
Significance of Grassland
▪ Grasslands support a variety of species, for example, animals including zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, and giraffes.
▪ The most common species of temperate grasslands are prairie dogs, badgers, coyotes, swift foxes, and a variety of birds.
▪ Tropical grasslands have small vegetation, making them excellent hunting grounds.
▪ They provide a habitat for a variety of insects such as grasshoppers.
▪ Some common grass species are red oat, Rhodes, and Purple needlegrass. They are mainly used as fodder.
▪ The stalks and leaves of red oat grass are used for pig bedding and provide fiber for paper, baskets, and hay.
Major Grasslands of the world map with names
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Answer: South Africa