The grassland biome
As the name suggests, these are massive areas dominated by one or a few species of grass, with a few
sparsely distributed trees. There are two main types of grassland biomes: the Savanna Grasslands and
the Temperate Grasslands. One major savanna is located in Africa and takes up more than a third of
the continent's land area. Others can be found in India, South America and Australia.
Temperate grasslands can be found in South Africa, Argentina, and some plains in Central North America.
If the grassland is prevented from developing into a forest by climatic conditions such as rainfall, it is termed
as ‘climatic savannas’. If their characteristics are kept by soils, they are termed as ‘edaphic savannas’.
Sometimes, large animals such as elephants can constantly disturb young trees from taking over
grasslands. Human activities such as farming or bush fires can also prevent grasslands from developing into
forests. Such grasslands are termed ‘derived savannas’.
Soils in savanna are thin-layered and do not hold water. The soils contain some organic matter from dead
grass, which is the main source of nutrients for plants.
Rainfall is moderate, and not enough to cause major floods. Animals in
the savannas include large mammals such as lions, hyenas, snakes,
giraffes and buffaloes with lots of insects.
Temperatures in the Temperate grasslands are extreme, with high
summer and freezing winter temperatures. Animals here include hawks,
owls, deer, mice, foxes, rabbits and spiders. Temperate grasslands with
short grasses are called ‘steppes’ and those with tall grasses are
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