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Temperate Grasslands Biome. J. Sileo. The Basics of the Temperate Grasslands. Temperature Ranges  -40 °F --- +100°F Annual Precipitation  20-35 inches, typically in the form of snow Seasons  Experiences four seasons, hot summers, frigid winters

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the basics of the temperate grasslands
The Basics of the Temperate Grasslands
  • Temperature Ranges -40°F --- +100°F
  • Annual Precipitation 20-35 inches, typically in the form of snow
  • Seasons Experiences four seasons, hot summers, frigid winters
  • Limiting Factors Natural and man-made fires, extreme temperatures, availability of water
species diversity

Ungulates, or hoofed mammals, are especially prevalent

Falcons, prairie dogs, insects, fox, gophers and lynx also common


Purple needlegrass, foxtail, ryegrass, and buffalo grass

Shrubs and trees often destroyed by fire

Wide selection of wild flowers found

Species Diversity
temperate grasslands
Temperate Grasslands
  • Temperature: There is a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures can be well over 38° C (100 degrees Fahrenheit), while during the winter, temperatures can be as low as -40° C (-40 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Precipitation: In the late Spring and Summer, most of the precipitation occurs. The annual average is about 20-35 inches.
  • Solar Insolation: There are two seasons. The growing season is when there is no frost and plants can grow (which lasts from 100 to 175 days). The dormant (not growing) season is when nothing can grow because its too cold.
  • Limiting Factors:
    • During the winter it is very cold and impossible for plants to survive.
    • The main limiting factor in this biome is the lack of moisture. The amount of Precipitation is very small and therefore, there is not much water.
species diversity7
Species Diversity
  • A few trees such as cottonwoods, oaks, and willows grow in river valleys.
  • There are hundreds of different species of flowers and many grasses such as purple needle grass and buffalo grass.
  • There are many different animals that include herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Sparrows, spiders, mice, deer, wild horses, lions, coyotes, zebras, hawks and gazelles are all found in this biome.
food chain
Food Chain


Grass Hopper

Purple Needle Grass

Prairie Dog


temperate grasslands9
Temperate Grasslands
  • Many temperate grasslands are now facing problems because people are starting to build farms in these biomes.
  • The Temperate Grassland is a prefect place for farms because of the rich soil, which is full of nutrients.
  • Due to the dryness of the temperate grasslands, there are fires that wipe out some areas of the land.
  • In the United States, temperate grasslands include the Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington state, the California grasslands, and some temperate grasslands in the southwest.
temperate grasslands10


S. Gottlieb

IB Environmental Systems


Temperate Grass: Shorter and drier than grass found in tropical areas, temperate grass is often located in prairies and steppes with more drastic seasonal climate changes than its taller-grassed relatives

Temperature: Summer temperatures are extremely hot, sometimes reaching over 100°F (38°C). Winter temperatures, to the contrary, are frigid with the ability to reach temperatures below -40°F (-40°C).

Precipitation: appx. 10-30 inches per year, although much is snow during the winter

Solar Isolation:Unlike the conventional four season calendar we are used to, Temperate Grasslands have two unique seasons: (1) growing and (2) dormant. The growing season lasts approximately 100-175 days and is the period of time when grassland vegetation is able to grow. The dormant season is the timeframe when frost covers all vegetation, and nothing is able to grow because of the freezing temperatures.

Limiting Factors: Droughts, wildfires, and grazing by large mammals all contribute to the prevention of woody shrubs and trees from invading the lands. While grasses are undoubtedly the majority of all plants, a few trees and non-woody plants do exist.

plant animal life

Temperate Grasslands are home to a diverse collection of plants and animals.

The biome’s vast array of fauna includes:

gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, wild horses, lions, wolves, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, foxes, skunks, badgers, blackbirds, grouses, meadowlarks, quails, sparrows, hawks, owls, snakes, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and spiders

However, the biome is undoubtedly know for its seemingly endless list of indigenous grasses. Some of the plants include:

purple needlegrass, blue grama, buffalo grass, asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, psoraleas, and wild indigos

All information extracted from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/grassland.html



Temperate Grasslands feature many familiar food chains, such as the one depicted here. Mice feed on grass, which serve as prey to snakes. Hawks are predators to snakes, and earthworms serve as a popular grassland decomposer.

grassland trivia

1) Why are Temperate Grasslands are often located between Desert and Tropical Rainforest biomes?

Grasslands receive a moderate amount of rainfall. This actually makes them a combination, or balance, of deserts and tropical rainforests.

2) What are other names for the Temperate Grassland?

While Americans are used to the terms “prairie” and “grassland”, this biome is actually known by many different names. In Asia, they are referred to as “steppes”, in South America “pampas”, and in South Africa “veldts”.

3) Between what two well-known latitudes are the temperate grasslands located?

Tropic of Capricorn & Tropic of Cancer