Grassland

Grasslands are generally dominated by plants in the family Poaceae. While generally quite biologically diverse they can also contain members of the rush family as well as a large variety of wildflowers. Perennial grass root systems often have remarkable soil conservation properties, forming subsurface mats or sometimes having roots that extend downward by tens of metres. Typical average rainfall for grassland biomes is 500 to 1000 millimetres per annum. Grasslands are often some of the most important habitats for conservation, since they are inherently vulnerable to agricultural conversion and urbanisation. The image at the right illustrates a healthy grassland on the island of Mull, Scotland, displaying rush and sedge components as well as a gamut of forbs.

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Montana valley and foothill grasslands Last Updated on 2014-06-17 00:36:34 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Montana valley and foothill grasslands ecoregion occupies high valleys and foothill regions in the central Rocky Mountains of Montana in the USA and Alberta, Canada. The ecoregion, part of the Nearctic realm, occupies the Rocky Mountain Front, the uppermost flatland reaches of the Missouri River drainage involving part of the Yellowstone River basin, and extends into the Clark Fork-Bitterroot drainage of the Columbia River system. The ecoregion, consisting of three chief disjunctive units, also extends marginally into a small portion of northern Wyoming. Having moderate vertebrate species richness, 321 different vertebrate taxa have been recorded in the Montana valley and foothill grasslands. The Montana valley and foothill grasslands is deemed an element of the Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, Shrublands... More »
Palouse grasslands Last Updated on 2014-06-16 00:46:21 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Palouse grasslands ecoregion extends over eastern Washington, northwestern Idaho and northeastern Oregon. Grasslands and savannas once covered extensive areas of the inter-mountain west, from southwest Canada into western Montana in the USA. Today, areas like the great Palouse prairie of eastern  are virtually eliminated as natural areas due to conversion to rangeland. The Palouse, formerly a vast expanse of native wheatgrasses (Agropyron spp), Idaho Fescue (Festuca idahoensis), and other grasses, has been plowed and converted to wheat fields or is covered by Drooping Brome (Bromus tectorum) and other alien plant species. The Palouse lies in the rain shadow of the Cascades and has a generally semiarid climate. This climate is similar to that of the annual grasslands of California, yet the Palouse... More »
Table Mountains, California Last Updated on 2014-06-11 14:12:14 The Table Mountains of California lie at the eastern verge of the California Central Valley with the foothill slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains rising in successive ridges to their east. The Table Mountain Range is floristically noted as one of the few extant refugia for the once vast native grasslands of  Central California. Unlike most of this original native grassland expanse, whose character was substantially altered beginning in the mid nineteenth century with waves of European settlers and gold prospectors, parts of the Table Mountain Range is substantially ecologically intact.  This intact portion within the Table Mountains is often simply termed Table Mountain, designating the prominent northern mesa within Butte County; this landform element is the best known venue for the elaborate spring wildflower profusion that draws numerous visitors each year. Certain maps... More »
California Central Valley grasslands Last Updated on 2014-05-24 13:54:04 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The California Central Valley grasslands extends approximately 430 miles in central California, paralleling the Sierra Nevada Range to the east and the coastal mountain ranges to the west and stopping abruptly at the Tehachapi Range in the south; the Central Valley averages about seventy five miles in longitudinal extent. Two rivers flow from opposite ends of the valley, and form a major confluence at mid-valley to form the extensive Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that discharges to the San Francisco Bay. This grassland ecoregion is an element of the Temperate Grasslands, Shrublands Savannas biome, and it has the World Wildlife Fund designation NA0801. Desert grasslands occur in the southern end of the valley due to increasing aridity. The valley is ringed by oak woodlands and chaparral of the California interior... More »
Nenjiang River grassland Last Updated on 2014-05-16 14:56:08 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Nenjiang River grassland is an expansive low lying grassland drained by the Nenjiang and Songhua Rivers of China. The Nenjiang River originates among low hills that define China’s northeastern border with the Russian Far East. After winding through a series of valleys, the Nenjiang River flows down onto the Songhua-Nenjiang plain where flooded grasslands have historically provided important summer breeding habitat for a variety of migratory birds including six of the world’s fifteen crane species. The Red-crowned Crane, White-naped Crane, Siberian Crane and Demoiselle crane breed in this ecoregion, while the Common Crane and Hooded Crane stage here prior to migrating to their breeding habitat.  Overfishing and agricultural development threaten the bird populations of this species-rich... More »