Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: North American Grasslands & Biogeographic Regions

Author
item Starrs, Paul
item Huntsinger, Lynn
item Spiegal, Sheri

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: North American grasslands are the product of a long interaction among land, people, and animals. Covering over one billion hectares across Canada, the United States, and Mexico, a defining trait of the realm is its vast surface area. From subtropical grasslands interspersed with wetlands in the southern coastal plains to the thorny shrubs, bunchgrasses, and bare ground of the hot deserts, grasslands of the continent comprise a magnificent diversity of soils, flora, fauna, and uses. North American grasslands were grazed, in some places intensively, for thousands of years by wildlife preceding the introduction of European livestock in the sixteenth century. With that introduction came seed from all over the world, and the shifts in the patterns and types of grazing, together with the plow, have precipitated profound changes across the system. This chapter provides an overview of North American grasslands past and present, with a focus on eight major grassland types and their physiography, morphology, and human interactions.

Technical Abstract: North American grasslands are the product of a long interaction among land, people, and animals. Covering over one billion hectares across Canada, the United States, and Mexico, a defining trait of the realm is its vast surface area. From subtropical grasslands interspersed with wetlands in the southern coastal plains to the thorny shrubs, bunchgrasses, and bare ground of the hot deserts, grasslands of the continent comprise a magnificent diversity of soils, flora, fauna, and uses. North American grasslands were grazed, in some places intensively, for thousands of years by wildlife preceding the introduction of European livestock in the sixteenth century. With that introduction came seed from all over the world, and the shifts in the patterns and types of grazing, together with the plow, have precipitated profound changes across the system. This chapter provides an overview of North American grasslands past and present, with a focus on eight major grassland types and their physiography, morphology, and human interactions.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page