Article

Grassland Biome

David J. Gibson

in Ecology

ISBN: 9780199830060
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199830060-0032
Grassland Biome

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  • Applied Ecology (Environmental Science)
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Plant Ecology
  • Zoology and Animal Sciences

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Grassland is the most extensive terrestrial biome, occupying 41–56 × 106 km2, or 31–43 percent of Earth’s surface (see White, et al. 2000 and World Resources Institute 2000, both cited under Grassland Extent and Loss and Ecosystem Services). Grasslands have been heavily used throughout human history, especially as a food source and for livestock. As a result, 39–90 percent of grassland has been converted to cropland or urban area, with only 1 hectare of grassland protected for every 10 hectares that have been lost. Grasslands are biologically rich and diverse, being dominated by the fourth largest plant family, the Poaceae, with more than 7,500 species. Ecologically, grassland is fascinating and possibly has been the subject of more ecological studies than any other system. Some of the major ecological concepts have arisen from studies in grassland.

Article.  17886 words. 

Subjects: Applied Ecology (Environmental Science) ; Ecology and Conservation ; Plant Ecology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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