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 ...

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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