Land Biomes: Temperate Grasslands

Black-tailed prairie dog, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. John E Marriott/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

Biomes are the world's major habitats. These habitats are identified by the vegetation and animals that populate them. The location of each biome is determined by the regional climate.

Temperate Grasslands

Temperate grasslands and savannas are two types of grassland biomes. Like savannas, temperate grasslands are areas of open grassland with very few trees. Temperate grasslands, however, are located in colder climate regions and receive less precipitation on average than savannas.


Temperatures in temperate grasslands vary according to the season. In winter, temperatures can plummet to well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. In summer, temperatures can reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperate grasslands receive low to moderate precipitation on average per year (20-35 inches). Most of this precipitation is in the form of snow in temperate grasslands of the northern hemisphere.


Grasslands are located on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Some locations of temperate grasslands include:

  • Argentina - pampas
  • Australia - downs
  • Central North America - plains and prairies
  • Hungary - puszta
  • New Zealand - downs
  • Russia - steppes
  • South Africa - veldts


Low to moderate precipitation makes temperate grasslands a difficult place for tall plants such as woody shrubs and trees to grow. Grasses of this area have adapted to cold temperatures, drought, and occasional fires. These grasses have deep, massive root systems that take hold in the soil. This allows the grasses to remain firmly rooted in the ground to reduce erosion and to conserve water.

Temperate grassland vegetation can either be short or tall. In areas that receive little precipitation, grasses remain low to the ground. Taller grasses can be found in warmer areas that receive more rainfall. Some examples of vegetation in temperate grasslands include: buffalo grass, cacti, sagebrush, perennial grasses, sunflowers, clovers, and wild indigos.


Temperate grasslands are home to many large herbivores. Some of these include bison, gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. Carnivores like lions and wolves are also found in temperate grasslands. Other animals of this region include: deer, prairie dogs, mice, jack rabbits, skunks, coyotes, snakes, foxes, owls, badgers, blackbirds, grasshoppers, meadowlarks, sparrows, quails, and hawks.