Grasslands Samantha Perea Thomas Contis APES 2 nd

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GrasslandsSamantha PereaThomas ContisAPES 2nd Grasslands- A Brief Introduction Grasslands are large areas of roaming plains covered in various species of grasses, shrubs,…
GrasslandsSamantha PereaThomas ContisAPES 2nd Grasslands- A Brief Introduction Grasslands are large areas of roaming plains covered in various species of grasses, shrubs, occasionally trees, and many types of fauna. These grasslands are found throughout the world, each with its unique name and biodiversity features. Climate
  • Two types:
  • Humid and moist= tall grasses
  • Dry= short grasses
  • Most grasslands are temperate, meaning it has moderate weather conditions year round.
  • In the summer, grasslands have rainy seasons, some more violent than others.
  • Some conditions depend on the surrounding landscape of the grassland. If it is surrounded by a mountain range, winters tend to be less harsh because the mountains will block winds.
  • Geographic Information (GIS)
  • Grasslands in North America are known as prairies.
  • Grasslands in South America known as the Pampas.
  • Eurasian grasslands are known as steppes.
  • South Africa contains the Veldt, which is very similar to the savannas of Central Africa.
  • Eurasia contains the largest steppe in the world, covering parts of Russia and continuing south through Asia.
  • Located in Asia, landlocked between China and Russia, Mongolian grasslands stretch through most of the country for approximately 2500 square miles.
  • Coordinates of Mongolia: {46 00 N, 105 00 E}
  • Many grasslands have small bodies of water that form during the rainy season.
  • Depending on the location, the grassland may also be surrounded by mountain ranges, therefore keeping species of different regions separate.
  • Native Animal Species(of Mongolian grasslands)
  • Takhi or Przewalski horses (Equus ferus przewalskii), were extinct in Mongolia for 40 years. They have been successfully reintroduced to Mongolia through the efforts of French breeding, as well as other European countries.
  • Snow leopards- (Panthera uncia)
  • Marmot- (Marmota caudata)
  • Wolves- (Canis lupus)
  • Bactrian camel-  (Camelus bactrianus)
  • Native Plant Species
  • Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)- a small fast-growing tree, the Siberian elm can adapt to a variety of different conditions, anywhere from where it lives to the soil and moisture content. It’s found throughout Asia and is now in some parts of the U.S.
  • Bush honeysuckles- (Lonicera spp.)
  • Feathergrass- (Stipa capillata)
  • Antelope-brush- (Purshia tridentata)
  • Invasive Species
  • Asian Gypsy Moth (Lymantriadispar)- highly destructive insect to trees. This species is an introduced species that is trying to be contained to prevent the spread of further infestations.
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)- destructive insect to many species of hardwood trees. The beetles have been discovered in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Britain, and Austria.
  • Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)- fairly aggressive species of weed. It will quickly invade pasturelands and open rangeland. It causes major decreases in forage and crop production.
  • Predator/Prey Relationships
  • Abundances of livestock are common in grasslands because herders and farmers use the land to graze their livestock.
  • With so much livestock, predators, such as wolves, will often attack.
  • To the right is a food web of a typical temperate grasslands community.
  • Major Environmental Concerns
  • Air pollution in major cities, such as Ulaanbaatar, the capital, where 500,000 people work in factories and depend on coal, has caused a major problem in Mongolia and many other Asian countries.
  • The basic air pollution laws are not strict.
  • No inhibition laws were placed on fast urban growth for many years .
  • Lake Baykal is being polluted by the Baykalsk pulp and paper mill. There are plans to develop an oil pipeline and nuclear power plant near the lake as well.
  • Deforestation of the Hangayn Nuruu mountain range has reduced the flow of northern Mongolia’s rivers.
  • Overgrazing of pastures, in addition to efforts to increase grain and hay production, has resulted in soil erosion.
  • This increase in soil erosion is causing the desert south of Mongolia to grow in size, thereby decreasing the expanse of the grasslands.
  • Unusual Creatures & Features
  • Mongolian Five-toed Jerboa or Siberian Jerboa (Allactaga sibirica)-These small nocturnal creatures resemble Australia’s hopping mice. They live in permanent burrows in many parts of the world, mostly in drier climates.
  • Agrali Sheep (Ovis ammon)- these are prized game animals, mainly for their horns.
  • Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica)- another prized game animal, a male Ibex’s horns can grow so long that they may even loop back on themselves. Female Ibexes sport much shorter and lighter horns.
  • Many of the Mongolian grasslands creatures are endangered or have come close to extinction.
  • Relationship(s) to Surrounding Biomes
  • Grasslands are often surrounded by mountain ranges or forests.
  • The ecotones usually occur in the timber lines of these grassland communities.
  • The timber line hosts an abundance of bird and insect species, each of which travel between biomes.
  • Some of these species are food for other species indigenous to the grasslands.
  • Mongolia- The Facts
  • Major religions: Buddhist Lamaist, Shamanist, Christian , and Muslim.
  • The population of Mongolia is 3,041,142 as of July 2009.
  • Most of Mongolia’s culture is based on their nomadic lifestyle.
  • The Nadaam Festival is the most well-known and widely celebrated.
  • Mongolian education was closely regulated by the Soviet Union until Mongolia separated. The education system spread slowly through Mongolia throughout the 1920’s.
  • Education used to only be available to Monks in Tibetan monasteries, with a startlingly low literacy rate.
  • Most of Mongolia’s economy is based on herding and agriculture. Large mineral deposits are a large source of income as well.
  • Major cities: Ulaanbaatar, Darhan, and Bulgan.
  • A major sport in Mongolia is wild game hunting, everything from big game sheep to wolves. It’s also a major tourist attraction.
  • Anthropoides virgo Demoiselle Crane An animal species that is indigenous to Mongolian grasslands is the Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo). The cranes have a wide variety of foods to choose from because they are omnivorous. They will eat plants, small creatures, insects, and even beans and grains. Their means of locomotion are walking and flying. Before actual means of reproduction can begin, the birds have an elaborate dance to perform before choosing a mate. Once mates are chosen, the female lays two eggs to be incubated for 27-29 days. The birds live in the dry grasslands of Eastern Asia. They will occasionally inhabit wetter steppe and agricultural areas, but mostly stay on the open grasslands. Cranes nest in open areas, occasionally right on the ground. They do this so that they have a better lookout for any unexpected dangers that might approach the female and her eggs. Pinus ponderosa Ponderosa Pine A plant species indigenous to U.S. grasslands is the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa). They grow at low elevations and form the ‘timberline’ that separates the open plains from the mountain ranges. Old pines can grow to be up to 180 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Dead pines provide excellent homes for many species of birds and insects. Once the pine cone is formed, many birds eat the seeds, dropping some on the ground on their way back to the nest. This, along with winds, is how the pines grow new trees. Ponderosa pines have developed an adaptation to deal with their often dry and warm habitat. The have become somewhat resistant to wildfires. Works Cited
  • World Wildlife Fund (Content Partner); Mark McGinley (Topic Editor). 2008. "Mongolian-Manchurian grassland." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth March 26, 2007; Last revised August 21, 2008; Retrieved October 17, 2009].
  • World Wildlife Fund (Content Partner); Mark McGinley (Topic Editor). 2008. "Gissaro-Alai open woodlands." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth March 19, 2007; Last revised August 22, 2008; Retrieved October 17, 2009].
  • Hess, R. 1990.  Siberian ibex (Capra ibex sibirica).  In Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals.  Edited by S. P. Parker.  New York: McGraw-Hill.  Volume 5, pp.527-528.
  • Valdez, R.  1990.  Giant wild sheep or argali (Ovis ammon).  In Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals.  Edited by S. P. Parker.  New York: McGraw-Hill.  Volume 5, pp. 550-553.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, 20th Edition
  • “Grasslands.” (2000).
  • Robert L. Worden and Andrea Matles Savada, editors. Mongolia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989.
  • “Interior Grasslands Flora.” (2002).
  • “Ponderosa pine trees.” (2009).
  • “Ponderosa Pine Fire Ecology.”
  • “Plant Health.” (May 26, 2009).
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