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Temperate Grassland

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Alex B

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Temperate Grassland

Temperate Grasslands The winters are bitterly cold plummeting below well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and summers are hot and dry reaching above 90 degrees.Rain can vary depending on location. Short-grass prairie’s(steppes) get around ten inches of rain a year while tall-grass prairies can get up to 35 inches a year and can be very windy at times.
Climate Variation Coriolis Effect El Nino/La Nina Climate Desertification Desertification is starting to influence the climate of the grasslands. The biome is being affected by droughts and overgrazing depleting the soil and water. The destruction of the natural grasses affects the topsoil temperature and the air humidity and consequently influences the movements of atmospheric masses and rainfall. The climate is always getting hotter during the summer now due to global warming. This leads to greater evaporation rates which also contributes to desertification. Also, with larger concentrations of water in the atmosphere, huge downpours are imminent which could cause large-scale soil erosion and flooding harming the land. Autotrophs: Mainly Perennial Grasses Heterotrophs - bison, antelope, birds, gophers, prairie dogs, coyotes, and insects. Decomposers – aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, algae, fungi They have a unique grazing method grazing on dominant grasses while avoiding most used areas keeping the soil fertile. Their carcasses fertilize the soil conditions everywhere because of their roaming nature helping native grasses grow as well as providing food for the other organisms that freely live amongst them. Keystone Species: Bison Endangered Species Prairie Chicken Northern bald ibis African Wild Dog Protection The lowest protection of any biome on earth is temperate grasslands, at less than 1 percent. The TGCI (Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative) team attempts to raise awareness to this issue. They wish to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss and have at least 10% of the land protected by 2014. The Coriolis Effect is the alteration in an object’s movement due to a rotating reference frame. The Coriolis Effect can cause a large mass of air to rotate in one direction, creating a vortex with a high angular velocity, also known as a cyclone. Because cyclones have an extremely high chance of occurring in temperate grasslands, in can be inferred that the Coriolis Effect has a significant impact on the weather of these grasslands. Occurs approximately every five years and lasts from nine months to two years. The increase in temperature and air pressure is called El Niño, and the decrease in temperature and air pressure is called La Niña.
El Niño causes temperate grasslands in North America to become more humid, in Australia and Africa to become drier and warmer, and in South America to become much warmer. La Niña has a much less noticeable effect on grasslands, with only some South American grasslands becoming cooler and drier. The temperate grasslands of Eurasia are mostly unaffected by either event. The natural capital consists of fertile soils, which carry extraordinarily large amounts of nutrients for producers to feed off of, perennial grasses, which hold large amounts of energy from the soil for other organisms to consume, and comparably small populations of first-level herbivores and omnivores, which serve to control overgrowth of grasses so that nutrients will not be exhausted. Because of the rich soil found in temperate grasslands, they become the primary targets for those practicing agriculture – creating and sustaining farms and ranches. However, the temptation to quickly utilize all of the grasslands’ resources, along with the lack of periodic crop rotation, often causes the affected ecosystems to lose their once plentiful natural capital. Natural Capital Temperate grasslands are located in many areas around the world, including North America, the former Soviet Union, Hungary, South Africa, Uruguay and Argentina. Location Because the soil in these areas is incredibly rich and the land is flat and treeless, most of this biome has been turned into farms or ranches. The result of this overuse and consumption of the grassland by agricultural practices is a fragmentation of once large tracks of grassland which deceases biodiversity. Plowing of grasslands, combined with wind has lead to huge dust storms. Finally, in dryer areas, overgrazing and salt build-up from irrigation of the land have turned these areas into near-wastelands. Environmental Concerns Flora Diversity The most common grasses include blue gamma grass, buffalo grass, Johnson grass, and various sorts of wheat and burley. Common flowers include types of asters, coneflowers, Solidagos (goldenrods), vetches, Indian blankets and sweet clovers.
Temperate grassland vegetation can either be short or tall. In areas that receive little precipitation, grasses remain low to the ground. Taller grasses can be found in warmer areas that receive more rainfall. Some examples of vegetation in temperate grasslands include: buffalo grass, cacti, sagebrush, perennial grasses, sunflowers, clovers, and wild indigos.
Grasslands (temperate) are dominated by one or a few species of grasses while there are several hundred other types of grasses and non-woody flowering plants that while less abundant make up a vital part of the species composition. There are many types of grass species that are dominant species in their own region. Each species of grass grows better with varying temperatures / rainfall / and soil conditions. Grasses are dominant (instead of trees) because of fire, drought and grazing by large herbivores. Biodiversity Fauna Diversity Has a large amount of herbivores due to large amounts of grasses. Common animals include: bison, pronghorns, deer, mice, rabbits, grouse, badgers, skunks, meadowlarks, various owls, garter snakes, rattle-snakes, red-tailed hawks and prairie dogs.
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