Global change is triggering an identity switch in grasslands

Since the first Homo sapiens emerged in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago, grasslands have sustained humanity and thousands of other species. But today, those grasslands are shifting beneath our feet. Global change—which ...

How climate change disrupts relationships

Higher mean temperatures as associated with climate change can have a severe impact on plants and animals by disrupting their mutually beneficial relationship: The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), for example, is very ...

What are native grasslands, and why do they matter?

Coalition minister Angus Taylor is under scrutiny for possibly intervening in the clearing of grasslands in the southern highlands of New South Wales. Leaving aside the political dimensions, it's worth asking: why do these ...

When tree planting actually damages ecosystems

Tree planting has been widely promoted as a solution to climate change, because plants absorb the climate-warming gases from Earth's atmosphere as they grow. World leaders have already committed to restoring 350m hectares ...

Grassland

Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses (Poaceae) and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants (forbs). However, sedge (Cyperaceae) and rush (Juncaceae) families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica. In temperate latitudes, such as northwestern Europe and the Great Plains and California in North America, native grasslands are dominated by perennial bunch grass species, whereas in warmer climates annual species form a greater component of the vegetation.

Grasslands are found in most ecoregion of the Earth. For example there are five terrestrial ecoregion classifications (subdivisions) of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome ('ecosystem'), which is one of eight terrestrial ecozones of the Earth's surface.

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