29 January 2015

Life in the Temperate Grasslands

Life in the Temperate Grasslands

The Prairies : Chapter Summary

Vast uplands covered by grasses are called grasslands. The grasslands cover about one-fourth of the earth’s land and are either large, flat lands, or areas with rolling hills. The climate and soil play an important role in the formation of grasslands.

There are two kinds of grasslands. Tropical grasslands, also called the Savannas, are located around the equator and the Temperate grasslands, called the prairies in North America, steppes in Eurasia, downs in Australia, pampas in South America, and velds in South Africa.

The prairies are found both in USA and Canada and stretch from the Rocky mountains to the Great lakes. The tributaries of the river Saskatchewan in Canada and the river Mississippi in the USA drain the prairies.

The summers in these regions are moderate with the average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius while the winters can be very cold, with the temperatures going as low as 20 degrees below zero. The Prairies receive 25 to 76 centimeters of rainfall annually.

The environmental of the prairies foster the cultivation of crops like wheat, maize, corn, oats, barley, rye and oil seeds. The important animals of the region are the bison or the American buffalo, and the pronghorn. Other animals found in this region are rabbits, coyotes, ground squirrels and the prairie dog.
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The most important occupations of the people here are cultivation and dairy farming. Due to immense natural resources and the use of advanced scientific methods in cultivation, these areas produce a surplus of wheat, and are, known as the “Granaries” or the “Wheat Basket of the World.”

An abundance of mineral deposits like coal and iron is also found in this region. 

The Velds : Chapter Summary

South Africa is rich in natural resources, climatic environments and diverse ethnic groups. The temperate grasslands in South Africa are called the Veldts. The Veldts are a rolling plateau at an attitude of 600 metres to 1100 metres and stretch between the Drakensburg Mountains in the east, and the mighty Kalahari Desert in the west.

The Veldts are drained by the Orange, the longest river in South Africa, and the Limpopo river. The High Veldts are located at an altitude of about 1600 metres in the north-east.

The Veldts have a mild climate with warm and dry temperature. The moderate climate is because of the elevation of the plateau and the presence of oceans on three sides.

This reason further makes the summers short and warm with moderate rainfall and the winters cold and dry, receiving scanty rainfall with the temperature between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius.

The temperate grasslands in South Africa have ideal conditions for animal grazing. The animals found in these grasslands are African elephants, lions and leopards, and the cheetah and the kudu and invertebrates like grasshoppers, termites, and beetles.

The primary occupation of people here is sheep rearing, dairy farming and mining. The wool extracted from the Merino sheep and the Angora goat is popular worldwide. The Veldts also have rich mineral deposits of iron, steel, coal, gold and diamonds.

Johannesburg, Kimberley and Pretoria are the important commercial cities where Johannesburg city is called the world’s gold capital and Kimberley and Pretoria are globally famous for its diamond mines.

The natural environmental in the Veldts are suitable for cultivating maize, wheat, oats, barley and potatoes in addition to cash crops like tobacco, sugarcane, and cotton.