The grassland biome is an area of land covered by grasses. There are very few large shrubs or trees in this hot and dry climate. Grasslands developed as a result of ancient forests dying out. There are several dangers to the ecosystem of the grassland biome that threaten the existence of animals and plants native to this area.
Fire is necessary to the health of the grassland biome, but it can be a danger to people living nearby. Without fires occurring at certain times of the year, tall-grass prairies would develop into deciduous woodlands. Fires usually happen during the dry season and benefit animal like birds, who can then feed on beetles, mice and lizards that were killed by the fire. Fires also benefit the ground because roots that survive store nutrients and have the space to grow. Fire is a danger for people living close to grassland areas; a fire can spread to houses on the edge of the biome, and the smoke from a fire can cause health problems.
The change in the weather patterns due to global warming endangers the stability of the grassland biome. What separates a grassland biome from a desert one is its rainfall. Grasslands get up to 40 inches of rainfall a year; deserts get less than half that amount. Scholars believe that if the world's temperature rises any further and rainfall changes, agricultural grasslands will become deserts.
Overgrazing and Crop Clearing
Another danger to the grassland environment is overgrazing and crop clearing. The natural grazing of animals helps the biome; grazing animals remove competitive plants and allow a diverse ecosystem. However, cattle from farms on grassland overgraze the land. They destroy the vegetation and the ground does not have enough time to recover. Another danger to land is crop clearing. Grasslands are usually flat plains and are ideal for agriculture. Clearing too much of the land's natural vegetation takes out the good nutrients in the soil.
Grassland biomes are an ideal place for agriculture. The soil holds a lot of nutrients and makes a good place for crops to grow. Having only one crop in a field at one time damages the soil; it needs a balance of nutrients. Farmers must use fertilizers to replenish the soil. Pest infestation is another problem. In a natural grassland habitat, the pest population is low since there is little areas of vegetation and many predators. In agriculture grassland, the crops play host to pests, some of which carry diseases. Pesticides have to be used, which can cause an imbalance in the soil's nutrients.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
Grassland Environmental Problems
Native grasslands---areas naturally inhabited by native grasses instead of shrubbery or forests---include the prairies of the central United States and Canada, the...
Animal Adaptations for Temperate Grasslands
Grasslands or prairies have a wide variety of animals inhabiting them. Small and large mammals have adapted to the open plains that...
Natural Resources of the Grassland Biome
When considering the natural resources found in a grassland biome, we need to define some terms. The US Geological Survey defines natural...
Ecosystems in the African Savanna
A savanna is an grassland ecosystem with a thin distribution of trees. Over a third of Africa, approximately 5 million square miles,...
Animals in the North American Prairies Grassland Biome
A prairie is a type of grassland that is predominantly covered by grasses and other plants, with few trees. North America is...
Dangers in the Tundra
From the Finnish word for treeless or barren land, with its 10-to-14-week growing season, long dark cold winters and low yearly precipitation--less...
Characteristics of Temperate Grasslands
Grass is the dominant vegetation in temperate grasslands. According to the University of California, climates with annual rainfall averages of 10 to...