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A grassland is an area of land that mostly contains grasses. There are wild grasses, and less trees. Several parts of the world have grasslands. Grasslands are found in Africa, North America, Central Asia, South America, and near the coasts of Australia. The largest grasslands are in East Africa. Grasslands with a few scattered trees are called savannas. Others are called prairies or steppes.
Little rain falls in a grassland biome. Between 25 and 75 cm of rain falls each year, which makes the weather in these savannas hot and sunny in the summer and cool in the winter months.
Plants and animals
There are a few trees in the grassland because of the low rainfall. Thorny trees called acacias are one of a handful of trees that are able to grow here. Wildfires are common and prevent trees from growing. The animals also prevent trees from growing as they eat the tender sprouts before they can develop into grown trees. Elephants are known to tear down trees and feed on their leaves, making trees even more scarce.
Grass can still grow because it survives the trampling of the animals and the little rain. This is why grasslands can feed the vast numbers of animals, from the mice, rats, and other small animals that eat the seeds and sprouts, to the large herds of animals.
Today, grasslands are being destroyed by farming. Many people are trying to save grassland by preventing the expansion of farms and by restoring destroyed grassland. Also, the animals in grasslands are constantly killed due to hunting. For example there used to be millions of buffalo in the United States grassland but after people came and hunted there, only a few thousand are left.
- Dinorah Pous (2010). Blue Planet. North America: McGrawHill. pp. 114 to 115.