Temperate grasslands, savannahs, and shrublands is a terrestrial habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The predominant vegetation in this biome consists of grass and/or shrubs. The climate is temperate and ranges from semi-arid to semi-humid. The habitat type differs from tropical grasslands in the annual temperature regime as well as the types of species found here.
The habitat type is known as prairie in North America, pampas in South America, veld in Southern Africa and steppe in Asia. Generally speaking, these regions are devoid of trees, except for riparian or gallery forests associated with streams and rivers.
Steppes/shortgrass prairies are short grasslands that occur in semi-arid climates. Tallgrass prairies are tall grasslands in areas of higher rainfall. Heaths and pastures are, respectively, low shrublands and grasslands where forest growth is hindered by human activity but not the climate.
Tall grasslands, including the tallgrass prairie of North America, the north-western parts of Eurasian steppe (Ukraine and south of Russia) and the Humid Pampas of Argentina, have moderate rainfall and rich soils which make them ideally suited to agriculture, and tall grassland ecoregions include some of the most productive grain-growing regions in the world. The expanses of grass in North America and Eurasia once sustained migrations of large vertebrates such as buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), saiga (Saiga tatarica), and Tibetan antelopes (Pantholops hodgsoni) and kiang (Equus hemionus). Such phenomena now occur only in isolated pockets, primarily in the Daurian Steppe and Tibetan Plateau.
The floral communities of the Eurasian steppes and the North American Great Plains, have been largely extirpated through conversion to agriculture. Nonetheless, as many as 300 different plant species may grow on less than 3 acres of North American tallgrass prairie, which also may support more than 3 million individual insects per acre. The Patagonian Steppe and Grasslands are notable for distinctiveness at the generic and familial level in a variety of taxa.
Afrotropic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
|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
|Canterbury-Otago tussock grasslands||New Zealand|
|Eastern Australia mulga shrublands||Australia|
|Southeast Australia temperate savanna||Australia|
Nearctic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
|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
|Humid Pampas||Argentina, Uruguay|
Palearctic temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
|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|
|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|
The Baraba steppe, also known as Barabinsk steppe, Barabinskaya steppe Russian: Барабинская низменность, is a grassland steppe and wooded flat plain situated in western Siberia.The steppe has an area of 117,000 km² and stretches between the Irtysh and the Ob Rivers. Barabinsk is the largest city on the steppe. The Baraba steppe also contains an important Russian agricultural district.
Lake Chany is located in the Baraba steppe.California coastal prairie
California coastal prairie, also known as northern coastal grassland, is a grassland plant community of California and Oregon in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It is found along the Pacific Coast, from as far south as Los Angeles in Southern California up into southern Oregon.Central Anatolian steppe
The Central Anatolian steppe is a Palearctic ecoregion in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome.
It is located in the Anatolia region section within central Turkey.Eastern Anatolian montane steppe
The Eastern Anatolian steppe is a Palearctic ecoregion in the Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome.
It is located in the Anatolia region section of eastern Turkey, Armenia, and northwestern Iran.Forest steppe
A forest steppe is a temperate-climate ecotone and habitat type composed of grassland interspersed with areas of woodland or forest.Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses (Poaceae); however, sedge (Cyperaceae) and rush (Juncaceae) families can also be found along with variable proportions of legumes, like clover, and other herbs. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica. Grasslands are found in most ecoregions of the Earth. For example, there are five terrestrial ecoregion classifications (subdivisions) of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome (ecosystem), which is one of eight terrestrial ecozones of the Earth's surface.Kazakh Steppe
The Kazakh Steppe (Kazakh: Qazaq dalasy, Қазақ даласы, also Uly dala, Ұлы дала "Great Steppe"), also called the Great Dala, ecoregion, of the Palearctic temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome, is a vast region of open grassland in northern Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of Russia, extending to the east of the Pontic steppe and to the west of the Emin Valley steppe, with which it forms part of the Eurasian steppe. Before the mid-nineteenth century it was called the Kirghiz steppe, 'Kirghiz' being an old name for the Kazakhs.Kazakh Uplands
The Kazakh Uplands (Kazakh: Сарыарқа, Saryarqa - "Yellow Ridge", Russian: Казахский мелкосопочник, Kazakhskiy Melkosopochnik), also known as the Kazakh Hummocks, is a large peneplain formation extending throughout the central and eastern regions of Kazakhstan. It consists of low mountain oases (Karkaraly, Kent, Kyzylarai, Ulytau, etc.) and elevated plains, and contains large deposits of coal in the north and copper in the south. Rare species, such as the Asiatic cheetah, may still live in the region. Several notable cities, including the country's capital, Nur-Sultan, are located there.
Part of the Kazakh Uplands are included in the Saryarka — Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan world heritage site. It is of the Palearctic temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregion of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome.Mongolian-Manchurian grassland
The Mongolian-Manchurian grassland ecoregion, also known as the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe, in the temperate grassland Biome, is found in Mongolia, the Chinese Autonomous region of Inner Mongolia and northeastern China.Mulga Lands
The Mulga Lands are an interim Australian bioregion of eastern Australia consisting of dry sandy plains scattered with mulga trees.North American Prairies Province
The North American Prairies Province is a large grassland floristic province within the North American Atlantic Region, a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom. It lies between the Appalachian Province and the Rocky Mountains and includes the prairies of the Great Plains. It is bounded by the Canadian coniferous forests on the north and the arid semideserts to the southwest. The province itself is occupied by temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (including such ecoregions as the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie, Sand Hills, High Plains). Endemism is rather limited in this province, and its boundaries are vague. During the Pleistocene much of the province was glaciated.Northern tall grasslands
The Northern tall grasslands is one of 867 terrestrial ecoregions defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. This ecoregion largely follows the Red River Valley in the Canadian province of Manitoba and the American states of North Dakota and Minnesota.Pontic–Caspian steppe
The Pontic–Caspian steppe, or Pontic steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the northern shores of the Black Sea (called Euxeinos Pontos [Εὔξεινος Πόντος] in antiquity) as far east as the Caspian Sea, from Moldova and eastern Ukraine across Russian Northern Caucasus, Southern and lower Volga regions to western Kazakhstan, forming part of the larger Eurasian steppe, adjacent to the Kazakh steppe to the east. It is a part of the Palearctic temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregion of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome.
The area corresponds to Cimmeria, Scythia, and Sarmatia of classical antiquity. Across several millennia the steppe was used by numerous tribes of nomadic horsemen, many of which went on to conquer lands in the settled regions of Europe and in western and southern Asia.
The term Ponto-Caspian region is used in biogeography for plants and animals of these steppes, and animals from the Black, Caspian, and Azov seas. Genetic research has identified this region as the most probable place where horses were first domesticated.According to a theory, called Kurgan hypothesis in Indo-European studies, the Pontic–Caspian steppe was the homeland of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, and these same speakers were the original domesticators of the horse.Shrub-steppe
Shrub-steppe is a type of low rainfall natural grassland. While arid, shrub-steppes have sufficient moisture to support a cover of perennial grasses and/or shrubs, a feature which distinguishes them from deserts.
The primary ecological processes historically at work in shrub-steppe ecosystems are drought and fire. Shrub-steppe plant species have developed particular adaptations to low annual precipitation and summer drought conditions. Plant adaptations to landscape differences in soil moisture regimes influences their distribution. A frequent fire regime in the shrub-steppe similarly adds to the patchwork pattern of shrub and grass that characterizes shrub steppe ecosystems.Steppe
In physical geography, a steppe (Russian: степь, IPA: [stʲepʲ]) is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. The prairie of North America (especially the shortgrass and mixed prairie) is an example of a steppe, though it is not usually called such. A steppe may be semi-arid or covered with grass or shrubs or both, depending on the season and latitude. The term is also used to denote the climate encountered in regions too dry to support a forest but not dry enough to be a desert. The soil is typically of chernozem type.
Steppes are usually characterized by a semi-arid or continental climate. Extremes can be recorded in the summer of up to 45 °C (113 °F) and in winter, −55 °C (−67 °F). Besides this huge difference between summer and winter, the differences between day and night are also very great. In both the highlands of Mongolia and northern Nevada, 30 °C (86 °F) can be reached during the day with sub-zero °C (sub 32 °F) readings at night.
The mid-latitude steppes can be summarized by hot summers and cold winters, averaging 250–510 mm (10–20 in) of precipitation per year. Precipitation level alone is not what defines a steppe climate; potential evapotranspiration must also be taken into account.Tallgrass prairie
The Tallgrass prairie is an ecosystem native to central North America. Natural and anthropogenic fire, as well as grazing by large mammals (primarily bison), were historically agents of periodic disturbance, which regulates tree encroachment, recycles nutrients to the soil, and catalyzes some seed dispersal and germination processes. Prior to widespread use of the steel plow, which enabled conversion to agricultural land use, tallgrass prairies expanded throughout the American Midwest and smaller portions of southern central Canada, from the transitional ecotones out of eastern North American forests, west to a climatic threshold based on precipitation and soils, to the southern reaches of the Flint Hills in Oklahoma, to a transition into forest in Manitoba.
They were characteristically found in the central forest-grasslands transition, the central tall grasslands, the upper Midwest forest-savanna transition, and the northern tall grasslands ecoregions. They flourished in areas with rich loess soils and moderate rainfall around 30-35 inches (700–900 mm) per year. To the east were the fire-maintained eastern savannas. In the northeast, where fire was infrequent and periodic windthrow represented the main source of disturbance, beech-maple forests dominated. In contrast, shortgrass prairie was typical in the western Great Plains, where rainfall is less frequent and soils are less fertile. Due to expansive agricultural land use, very little tallgrass prairie remains.Texas blackland prairies
The Texas Blackland Prairies are a temperate grassland ecoregion located in Texas that runs roughly 300 miles (480 km) from the Red River in North Texas to San Antonio in the south. The prairie was named after its rich, dark soil.Tussock grassland
For the region of Tanzania, see Tussock Grassland (Tanzania)Tussock grassland is a form of open grassland with tussock bunchgrass species, that is common in some Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregions of the Southern hemisphere.