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Grassland

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Grassland
Tonya Chaney
SCI 201- 1403B-03
Professor Obenson
Colorado Technical University
August 20, 2014

An ecosystem is a biological community in which locale, physical, and chemical factors play a major role in the make-up of the biotic and abiotic environment. They can range from ponds, forests, estuaries, or grasslands. Some ecosystems are more complex than others depending on where they are located. Some have similar characteristics and some are different in many ways such as the abiotic and biotic components or the region it is located in. Grasslands for example have different names because of the region they are located, for example, grasslands known as prairies are located in the United States. There are two types of grasslands, temperate and tropical. Grasslands in the United States are temperate and typically found in the mid-west. The grasslands known as prairies are more useful to humans agriculturally due to them having two seasons. These grasslands get between 10 to 30 inches of rain per year which is good for vegetation purposes. That is known as a grasslands growing season. When the weather starts to get cold and dry, that is known as the grasslands dormant season which is when nothing grows and the grasses and plants start to die. Many of the grasslands in North America have been turned into farmlands. Grasslands have many abiotic and biotic components. Abiotic components are non-living things that affect the ecosystem. These components are sunlight, water, heat, temperature, climate, and nutrients in the soil. Biotic components are living organisms or things that affect the ecosystem. These components are typically grass, small trees, plants, small animals, large animals, insects, snakes, bacteria, fungi, and many more. These components work together to keep the ecosystem as it should be. Although grasslands are which are large , flat , open areas there are no large predators due to lack of shelter, but it does provide for smaller animals such as rabbits , deer coyotes and any other species that are able to adapt to the surroundings. The grasslands are perfect for wildflowers and other plant life, until it gets cold and dry of course. Biogeochemical cycles include biological, chemical, and geological processes. There are many variables that cycle through the ecosystem such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen that are important to all living things. The biogeochemical cycle stores these components and passes them to threw the atmosphere for the abiotic and biotic components. Carbon and nitrogen cycles are typically more for abiotic components because they are not useable by biotic components. Unfortunately, humans have altered the cycles by turning the grasslands into farmlands by over fertilizing the lands. Natural caused disturbances such as flooding causes the plants to die due to soil erosion and animals to lose their homes. Flooding has also caused no wildlife at all because the wildlife can’t feed or live. Human caused disturbances such as land clearing are the worst of all because it not only kills the wildlife but it takes away from the wildlife that it does not kill. Fortunately, the ecosystem can restore abiotic and biotic components by starting over when all the disruption is over. The ecosystem also develops new abiotic and biotic components with the help of the biogeochemical cycles. In conclusion, there are many factors that affect grassland. The weather, climate, humidity, soil erosion, and human factors such as land clearing, pollution, chemical substances, and other ways. It is the not always easy for the ecosystem to restore itself but it does in time. The abiotic, biotic, biogeochemical, carbon and nitrogen cycles work together to make restoration possible.

RESOURCES www.enviroliteracy.org www.environment.nationalgeographic.com www.hindawi.com www.nwf.org

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