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Grassland, Desert and Tundra

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Grassland, Desert and Tundra - Lesson Summary

Grasslands are vast open areas covered by grass and are classified into two types—tropical grasslands and temperate grasslands. Tropical grasslands are located near the equator, between the Tropic of

Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and are found in Australia, India, Africa and South America. The climate Tropical grasslands is usually hot and dry throughout the year and the rainfall can vary from heavy to moderate, followed by long bouts of drought. The grass in tropical grasslands can grow up to a height of 3-4 metres.

Large animals like elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, hyenas, zebras, buffaloes and kangaroos along with small animals like mice, moles, gophers, ground squirrels, snakes, worms, termites, and beetles are found here. Birds like ostrich, emu and rhea and different varieties of snakes are found too. Some examples of tropical grasslands are the Savannahs in Africa, the Campos in Brazil and the Llanos in Venezuela.

The temperate grasslands are covered by short and nutritious varieties of grasses and are located to the north of the Tropic of Cancer and to the south of the Tropic of Capricorn. These grasslands receive very little rainfall and experience hot summers and cold winters.

The major temperate grasslands are the Velds of South Africa, the Prairies of North America, the Pampas of Argentina, the Steppes of Central Asia, and the Downs of Australia.

Large animals like bison, pronghorn, deer, wolves, coyotes and zebras and small animals like prairie dogs, rabbits and mice live here. Birds like grouses, meadowlarks, quails, sparrows, hawks and owls, and snakes and insects are also found in temperate grasslands.

The soil of temperate grasslands is very fertile and hence these are major farm lands for growing cereal crops such as wheat, oats, barley, milo and corn.

Tropical deserts are the driest and hottest places on earth where the rainfall is very scanty and irregular. Owing to these conditions, vegetation and wildlife is scarce. Animals like camel and mongoose, and a variety of reptiles and insects live in these deserts. Cactus, prickly pears, turpentine bush and yuccas commonly grow here.

The Sahara Desert of Africa is the world’s largest tropical desert and stretches for 32,50,000 square miles. In India, the Thar desert in Rajasthan is another example of tropical desert. Tundra regions are lands which are extremely cold, covered with frosts and devoid of trees. Deserts in the polar regions of Antarctica, Greenland and parts of North America are examples of Tundra regions.

There are two types of tundra regions in the world i.e. Arctic Tundra and Alpine Tundra. The arctic tundra is mainly located around the North Pole while the alpine tundra can be found in the mountainous regions.

The vegetation in these regions is sparse and treeless limited to mosses, lichens and very small shrubs. Seals, walruses, musk-oxen, arctic owls, polar bears and snow foxes are form of wildlife found here. These animals have a thick fur and skin which protects them from the acute cold.

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