Grassland and Chaparral
By: Ron Gabbay, Moshe Sutton-Kravitz, Elle Nadav, Nicole Henzel
Tropical Grassland (climate)
Hot dry weather all year around
Rainless and hot winter
Rainy summer that are warm and moist
Temperature for summer = 80 degrees; winter= 64 degrees
Australian savannas get around 18 inches of a rain per year.
African savannas get 3 times that amount
Tropical Grassland ( Animal and plant
High insect population
Predators need to be quick, powerful, smart, and sneaky like cheetahs and hyenas in order to bring down fast alert
animals like gazelles.
Many different types of birds live on a grassland (vultures and secretary)
Herbivores follow the rain and water as they travel.
More trees than temperate grassland and not many flowers. Trees are usually low and scattered.
Fire resistant trees and shrubs are a main source of vegetation because farmers burned most of the other lands.
Some plants have defense mechanisms like the thorny acacia bushes and therefore animals do not eat it.
Drier areas have less tall grasses than others.
Tropical Grassland (Soil and Human impact)
During part of the year the soil is moist and rich, however, the other part of
the year the soil is dry.
Farmers and herders are burning and cutting down trees.
It is hard for people to get water during the winter because of the lack of
Farmers also hunt animals at times.
Temperate Grasslands- climate and soil
Climate varies depending on the distance of equator.
Northern grasslands are VERY hot in the summer (above 100 degrees) and VERY
cold in the winter (down to -10 degrees).
Very little rainfall (12-20 inched per year), but Southern grasslands have more
evenly spread rainfall throughout the year
Temperate grasslands are very windy.
Lightening storms create fire which burn plants which nourish soil
Upper layer is very fertile due to dead plants giving nourishment to living plants
Temperate Grasslands- plants, animals,
Various grasses and flowers such as; needle grass and golden rods
Wide range of animals varying from snakes and bugs to rhinos and lions
Fires caused by humans due to dry grasslands
Animals from farms graze in the grassland which decreases food
Polar Tundra Grasslands
Location: Tundra stretches in a continuous belt across northern North America and Eurasia -
includes vast areas of northern Russia and Canada
Climate: During the winter it is very cold and dark, with the average temperature around −28°C
sometimes dipping as low as −50 °C. Generally daytime temperatures during the summer rise to
about 12 °C (54 °F) but can often drop to 3 °C (37 °F) or even below freezing. Very windy area,
with winds often blowing upwards of 48–97 km/h. Pecipitation, it is desert-like, with only about
15–25 cm falling per year.
Animal Species: Biodiversity of the tundras is low: 1,700 species of vascular plants and only 48
land mammals can be found, although millions of birds migrate there each year for the
marshes. Notable animals in the Arctic tundra include flatfish, caribou (reindeer), musk ox,
arctic hare, arctic fox, snowy owl, lemmings, and polar bears (only the extreme north).
Plant Species: consists mostly of grasses, sedges, heather, mosses, and lichens.
Polar Tundra Grasslands
Soil: where the subsoil is permafrost (permanently frozen soil). The soil there is frozen from
25–90 cm (9.8–35.4 inches) down, and it is impossible for trees to grow.
Agriculture: bare and sometimes rocky land can only support low growing plants. During the
summer, the top layer of the permafrost melts, leaving the ground very soggy and thaws just
enough to let plants grow and reproduce.
Human Impact: many of these areas are protected through a national Biodiversity Action Plan.
Due to the harsh climate of the Arctic tundra, regions of this kind have seen little human
activity, even though they are sometimes rich in natural resources such as oil and uranium. A
concern is that about one third of the world's soil-bound carbon is in the polar tundra areas.
When the permafrost melts, it releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane,
both of which are greenhouse gasses, which leads to global warming.
Alpine Tundra Grasslands
Location: Alpine tundra occurs in mountains worldwide. Large regions of alpine tundra occur in the American
Cordillera in North and South America, the Alps and Pyrenees of Europe and the Rift Mountains of Africa.
Climate: The climate becomes colder at high elevations—this characteristic is described by the lapse rate of
air: air tends to get colder as it rises, since it expands. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is10 °C per km of elevation
or altitude. Therefore, moving up 100 meters on a mountain is roughly equivalent to moving 80 kilometers
towards the pole .Typical high-elevation growing seasons range from 45 to 90 days, with average summer
temperatures near 50° F. Growing season temperatures frequently fall below freezing, and frost occurs
throughout the growing season in many areas .Precipitation occurs mainly as winter snow, but soil water
availability is highly variable with season, location, and topography. High winds are common in alpine
ecosystems, and can cause significant soil erosion and be physically and physiologically detrimental to plants.
Alpine Tundra Grassland
Animal Species: Because alpine tundra is located in various widely-
separated regions of the Earth, there is no animal species common to all
areas of alpine tundra. Some animals of alpine tundra environments include
the Kea parrot, marmot, mountain goats, chinchilla, woodland caribou, and
Plant Species: alpine vegetation is close to the ground and consists mainly
of perennial grasses, sedges, forbs, and low-growing shrubs with prominent
inclusions of lichens and mosses.
Alpine Tundra Grasslands
Soil: The alpine tundra's soil also has a layer of permafrost, but its active layer is not as soggy as
the arctic tundra's. This is because rainfall in the alpine tundra runs off of the steep mountain
sides instead of becoming saturated in the soil. Strong winds also sweep moisture from melting
snow out of the soil leaving the top layer dry and dust like in the summer.
Human Impact: In spite of their high altitude location, alpine tundra ecosystems on Niwot Ridge
and in other portions of the Rocky Mountain west have been used by humans since prehistoric
times. Native Americans used the high terraces as butchering and camping sites over 7,000
years ago. Off road vehicles have wreaked havoc on the fragile tundra ecosystem. Hikers,
unaware of their impact, have caused significant damage to this environment. A piece of litter
can kill a plant it covers in just a few weeks. Soil erosion caused by trampling can have long
lasting effects as it takes much longer for soil to develop in the alpinetundra.
Chaparral climate and soil:
During the summer the chaparral is very dry and temperatures get over 100
During the winter it gets below freezing and the land is frosty
Rain comes only during the fall and spring and there are droughts during the
Soil is nutrient poor due to loss of trees which led to erosion
Chaparral plants and animals:
Mainly chaparral plants that are adapted to the desert like environment and
bad soil can live here
Chaparral plants dominate the area not allowing other plants to grow
Plants are fire and drought resistant
The most common chaparral plants are various shrubs and oaks
Animals include ground birds, very few mammals such as the grysbok,
dingoes, lynx, other predators, and various reptiles
Chaparral human impact
Humans changing boimes to fit their needs has caused the soil to not be
healthy, from clear cutting and erosion
Human development has decreased the amount of big game and prey there
are for predators in the chaparral
Humans have forced animals to move their homes and adjust their lifestyles