Grasslands and Wildlife NRC 261
25 March 2014
How widespread (and where) are grasslands on the land surface of the earth?
Grasslands cover large percent of the U.S
What determines where grasslands occur?
Temperate-Steppe/ Soviet Union
Why are the great migrations of ungulates often associated with grasslands?
Serengeti plains-east Africa
Animals migratory because of seasonal changes
Zebras and gazelle
How does fire affect grassland ecology?
Keeps grassland a fire
Ecological factor that has greatest impact
1. growing points at or below ground level
2. regrow rapidly
3. fire removes little growth
it changes plant composition
it may kill wildlife directly(burned up) and indirectly(leave and die)
increase nutrient content
-people purposely burn it to get nutrients from regrowth and rain
How do wildlife species (i.e., the examples given) interact with grasslands?
Birds- display in grassland (open areas)
-more food because of increase nutrients
rangeland grazers- deer, prairie dogs, pronghorns all have increased food availability
Interactions –great Plaines
Bison-prairie dogs- black-footed ferrets
Black footed ferrets eat prairie dogs and bison make vegetation shorter that the prairie
Lots of volume