NCERT Textbook - Life in the Temperate Grasslands Class 7 Notes | EduRev

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Class 7 : NCERT Textbook - Life in the Temperate Grasslands Class 7 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Just as a forest can be defined as the place where trees
are the main type of vegetation, grassland  can be
defined as a region where grasses form the dominant
type of plant life.  Grasslands make up almost a quarter
of the total land surface.  The types of plants that
grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil
are like. As climate plays an important role in the
formation of grasslands, it is generally used as a basis
to divide the world’s grasslands into two broad
categories:  those that occur in the temperate region
and those that occur in the tropical regions.
THE PRAIRIES
The temperate grasslands of North America are known
as the Prairies (Fig. 9.1). It is a region of flat, gently
sloping or hilly land. For the most part, prairies are
treeless but, near the low lying plains, flanking river
valleys, woodlands can be found. Tall grass, upto two
metres high, dominates, the landscape. It is actually a
“sea of grass.”
The prairies are bound by the
Rocky Mountains in the West and
the Great Lakes in the East. Look
at the map of North America
(Fig. 9.2). You can see that the
prairies cover parts of United States
of America and parts of Canada. In
the USA, the area is drained by the
tributaries of Mississippi and the
Canadian prairies are drained by
the tributaries of Saskatchewan
Rivers.
Word Origin
The word Prairie
originated from Latin
word priata which
means meadow.
Fig. 9.1: The Prairies
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


Just as a forest can be defined as the place where trees
are the main type of vegetation, grassland  can be
defined as a region where grasses form the dominant
type of plant life.  Grasslands make up almost a quarter
of the total land surface.  The types of plants that
grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil
are like. As climate plays an important role in the
formation of grasslands, it is generally used as a basis
to divide the world’s grasslands into two broad
categories:  those that occur in the temperate region
and those that occur in the tropical regions.
THE PRAIRIES
The temperate grasslands of North America are known
as the Prairies (Fig. 9.1). It is a region of flat, gently
sloping or hilly land. For the most part, prairies are
treeless but, near the low lying plains, flanking river
valleys, woodlands can be found. Tall grass, upto two
metres high, dominates, the landscape. It is actually a
“sea of grass.”
The prairies are bound by the
Rocky Mountains in the West and
the Great Lakes in the East. Look
at the map of North America
(Fig. 9.2). You can see that the
prairies cover parts of United States
of America and parts of Canada. In
the USA, the area is drained by the
tributaries of Mississippi and the
Canadian prairies are drained by
the tributaries of Saskatchewan
Rivers.
Word Origin
The word Prairie
originated from Latin
word priata which
means meadow.
Fig. 9.1: The Prairies
© NCERT
not to be republished
66 OUR ENVIRONMENT
CLIMATE
Being located in the heart of a continent, the climate is
of continental type with extreme temperatures.
The summers are warm with temperatures of around
20°C, while in winter -20°C has been recorded in
Winnipeg, Canada. In winters a thick blanket of snow
covers this region.
The annual rainfall is moderate and is ideal for the
growth of grass. Due to the absence of the north-south
barrier, a local wind “Chinook” blows here.
Do you know?
Chinook is a hot wind
that blows in winter
and therefore raises
the temperature
within a short time.
This increase in
temperature results
in the melting of
snow, making pasture
land available for
grazing of animals.
Fig. 9.2: The Prairies in North America
Do you know?
The grasslands of
Prairies were the
home of native
Americans often
called “Red Indians”.
They were the actual
habitant of the
continent. The Prairies
were home of other
tribes also like the
Apache, the Crow, the
Cree and the Pawnee.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


Just as a forest can be defined as the place where trees
are the main type of vegetation, grassland  can be
defined as a region where grasses form the dominant
type of plant life.  Grasslands make up almost a quarter
of the total land surface.  The types of plants that
grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil
are like. As climate plays an important role in the
formation of grasslands, it is generally used as a basis
to divide the world’s grasslands into two broad
categories:  those that occur in the temperate region
and those that occur in the tropical regions.
THE PRAIRIES
The temperate grasslands of North America are known
as the Prairies (Fig. 9.1). It is a region of flat, gently
sloping or hilly land. For the most part, prairies are
treeless but, near the low lying plains, flanking river
valleys, woodlands can be found. Tall grass, upto two
metres high, dominates, the landscape. It is actually a
“sea of grass.”
The prairies are bound by the
Rocky Mountains in the West and
the Great Lakes in the East. Look
at the map of North America
(Fig. 9.2). You can see that the
prairies cover parts of United States
of America and parts of Canada. In
the USA, the area is drained by the
tributaries of Mississippi and the
Canadian prairies are drained by
the tributaries of Saskatchewan
Rivers.
Word Origin
The word Prairie
originated from Latin
word priata which
means meadow.
Fig. 9.1: The Prairies
© NCERT
not to be republished
66 OUR ENVIRONMENT
CLIMATE
Being located in the heart of a continent, the climate is
of continental type with extreme temperatures.
The summers are warm with temperatures of around
20°C, while in winter -20°C has been recorded in
Winnipeg, Canada. In winters a thick blanket of snow
covers this region.
The annual rainfall is moderate and is ideal for the
growth of grass. Due to the absence of the north-south
barrier, a local wind “Chinook” blows here.
Do you know?
Chinook is a hot wind
that blows in winter
and therefore raises
the temperature
within a short time.
This increase in
temperature results
in the melting of
snow, making pasture
land available for
grazing of animals.
Fig. 9.2: The Prairies in North America
Do you know?
The grasslands of
Prairies were the
home of native
Americans often
called “Red Indians”.
They were the actual
habitant of the
continent. The Prairies
were home of other
tribes also like the
Apache, the Crow, the
Cree and the Pawnee.
© NCERT
not to be republished
67 LIFE IN THE TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS
Glossary
FLORA AND FAUNA
Prairies are practically tree-less. Where water
is available, trees such as willows, alders and
poplars grow. Places that receive rainfall of
over 50 cm, are suitable for farming as the
soil is fertile. Though the major crop of this
area is maize, other crops including potatoes,
soybean, cotton and alfa-alfa is also grown.
Areas where rainfall is very little or unreliable,
grasses are short and sparse.  These areas
are suitable for cattle rearing.  Large cattle
farms called ranches are looked after by
sturdy men called
cowboys (Fig. 9.3). Bison or the
American buffalo is the most
important animal of this region
(Fig. 9.4). It nearly got extinct
due to its indiscriminate hunting
and is now a protected species.
The other animals found in this
region are rabbits, coyotes,
gophers and Prairie dog.
PEOPLE
The people of this region are very hardworking. They
have successfully harnessed technology to utilise their
rich natural resources. Two of the most developed
countries in the world - the USA and Canada are located
in this region.  Scientific methods of cultivation and use
of tractors, harvesters and combines has made North
America a surplus food producer. The Prairies are also
known as the “Granaries of the world,” due to the huge
surplus of wheat production.
Dairy farming is another major industry. The dairy
belt extends from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast
in the east. Dairy farming and extensive agriculture both
promote setting up of food processing industries.
Large mineral deposits particularly coal and iron
and a good network of roads, railways and canals in
this region have made it the most industrialised region
in the world.
Fig. 9.3: A Cowboy with his horse
Combine: A single
machine which can
combine the tasks of
sowing, ploughing and
threshing i.e. a three
-in-one.
Do you know?
Important cities in
the American prairies
are Chicago,
Minneapolis,
Indianapolis, Kansas
and Denver. In the
Canadian prairies the
important cities are
Edmonton,
Saskatoon, Calgary
and Winnipeg.
Fig. 9.4: A Bison
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


Just as a forest can be defined as the place where trees
are the main type of vegetation, grassland  can be
defined as a region where grasses form the dominant
type of plant life.  Grasslands make up almost a quarter
of the total land surface.  The types of plants that
grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil
are like. As climate plays an important role in the
formation of grasslands, it is generally used as a basis
to divide the world’s grasslands into two broad
categories:  those that occur in the temperate region
and those that occur in the tropical regions.
THE PRAIRIES
The temperate grasslands of North America are known
as the Prairies (Fig. 9.1). It is a region of flat, gently
sloping or hilly land. For the most part, prairies are
treeless but, near the low lying plains, flanking river
valleys, woodlands can be found. Tall grass, upto two
metres high, dominates, the landscape. It is actually a
“sea of grass.”
The prairies are bound by the
Rocky Mountains in the West and
the Great Lakes in the East. Look
at the map of North America
(Fig. 9.2). You can see that the
prairies cover parts of United States
of America and parts of Canada. In
the USA, the area is drained by the
tributaries of Mississippi and the
Canadian prairies are drained by
the tributaries of Saskatchewan
Rivers.
Word Origin
The word Prairie
originated from Latin
word priata which
means meadow.
Fig. 9.1: The Prairies
© NCERT
not to be republished
66 OUR ENVIRONMENT
CLIMATE
Being located in the heart of a continent, the climate is
of continental type with extreme temperatures.
The summers are warm with temperatures of around
20°C, while in winter -20°C has been recorded in
Winnipeg, Canada. In winters a thick blanket of snow
covers this region.
The annual rainfall is moderate and is ideal for the
growth of grass. Due to the absence of the north-south
barrier, a local wind “Chinook” blows here.
Do you know?
Chinook is a hot wind
that blows in winter
and therefore raises
the temperature
within a short time.
This increase in
temperature results
in the melting of
snow, making pasture
land available for
grazing of animals.
Fig. 9.2: The Prairies in North America
Do you know?
The grasslands of
Prairies were the
home of native
Americans often
called “Red Indians”.
They were the actual
habitant of the
continent. The Prairies
were home of other
tribes also like the
Apache, the Crow, the
Cree and the Pawnee.
© NCERT
not to be republished
67 LIFE IN THE TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS
Glossary
FLORA AND FAUNA
Prairies are practically tree-less. Where water
is available, trees such as willows, alders and
poplars grow. Places that receive rainfall of
over 50 cm, are suitable for farming as the
soil is fertile. Though the major crop of this
area is maize, other crops including potatoes,
soybean, cotton and alfa-alfa is also grown.
Areas where rainfall is very little or unreliable,
grasses are short and sparse.  These areas
are suitable for cattle rearing.  Large cattle
farms called ranches are looked after by
sturdy men called
cowboys (Fig. 9.3). Bison or the
American buffalo is the most
important animal of this region
(Fig. 9.4). It nearly got extinct
due to its indiscriminate hunting
and is now a protected species.
The other animals found in this
region are rabbits, coyotes,
gophers and Prairie dog.
PEOPLE
The people of this region are very hardworking. They
have successfully harnessed technology to utilise their
rich natural resources. Two of the most developed
countries in the world - the USA and Canada are located
in this region.  Scientific methods of cultivation and use
of tractors, harvesters and combines has made North
America a surplus food producer. The Prairies are also
known as the “Granaries of the world,” due to the huge
surplus of wheat production.
Dairy farming is another major industry. The dairy
belt extends from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast
in the east. Dairy farming and extensive agriculture both
promote setting up of food processing industries.
Large mineral deposits particularly coal and iron
and a good network of roads, railways and canals in
this region have made it the most industrialised region
in the world.
Fig. 9.3: A Cowboy with his horse
Combine: A single
machine which can
combine the tasks of
sowing, ploughing and
threshing i.e. a three
-in-one.
Do you know?
Important cities in
the American prairies
are Chicago,
Minneapolis,
Indianapolis, Kansas
and Denver. In the
Canadian prairies the
important cities are
Edmonton,
Saskatoon, Calgary
and Winnipeg.
Fig. 9.4: A Bison
© NCERT
not to be republished
68 OUR ENVIRONMENT
Let’s do
THE VELDS
The temperate grasslands of South Africa are called the
velds (Fig. 9.5). Velds are rolling plateaus with varying
heights ranging from 600 m to 1100 m. It is bound by
the Drakensburg Mountains on the east. To its west lies
the Kalahari desert. On the northeastern part, “high velds”
are located that attain a height of more than 1600 m, in
some places. Look at the map of Africa. Name the
countries that are covered by the Velds. The tributaries
of rivers Orange and Limpopo drain the region.
Velds lie in the
Southern hemisphere.
When it is summers
in velds, what season
would it be in the
prairies?
Do you know?
The Veld name was
given by the Dutch
settlers before South
Africa was colonised
by the British.
Fig. 9.5: Veld in Africa
CLIMATE
The velds have a mild climate due to the influence of the
Indian Ocean. Winters are cold and dry. Temperatures
vary between 5°C and 10°C and July is the coldest
month. Summers are short and warm. Johannesburg
records about 20°C temperature in the summer.
Let’s do
Some type of grass
grows on almost every
surface of the earth.
List names of places
where you have
observed grass
growing, e.g., lawns,
cricket field, between
cracks of a side walk
etc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


Just as a forest can be defined as the place where trees
are the main type of vegetation, grassland  can be
defined as a region where grasses form the dominant
type of plant life.  Grasslands make up almost a quarter
of the total land surface.  The types of plants that
grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil
are like. As climate plays an important role in the
formation of grasslands, it is generally used as a basis
to divide the world’s grasslands into two broad
categories:  those that occur in the temperate region
and those that occur in the tropical regions.
THE PRAIRIES
The temperate grasslands of North America are known
as the Prairies (Fig. 9.1). It is a region of flat, gently
sloping or hilly land. For the most part, prairies are
treeless but, near the low lying plains, flanking river
valleys, woodlands can be found. Tall grass, upto two
metres high, dominates, the landscape. It is actually a
“sea of grass.”
The prairies are bound by the
Rocky Mountains in the West and
the Great Lakes in the East. Look
at the map of North America
(Fig. 9.2). You can see that the
prairies cover parts of United States
of America and parts of Canada. In
the USA, the area is drained by the
tributaries of Mississippi and the
Canadian prairies are drained by
the tributaries of Saskatchewan
Rivers.
Word Origin
The word Prairie
originated from Latin
word priata which
means meadow.
Fig. 9.1: The Prairies
© NCERT
not to be republished
66 OUR ENVIRONMENT
CLIMATE
Being located in the heart of a continent, the climate is
of continental type with extreme temperatures.
The summers are warm with temperatures of around
20°C, while in winter -20°C has been recorded in
Winnipeg, Canada. In winters a thick blanket of snow
covers this region.
The annual rainfall is moderate and is ideal for the
growth of grass. Due to the absence of the north-south
barrier, a local wind “Chinook” blows here.
Do you know?
Chinook is a hot wind
that blows in winter
and therefore raises
the temperature
within a short time.
This increase in
temperature results
in the melting of
snow, making pasture
land available for
grazing of animals.
Fig. 9.2: The Prairies in North America
Do you know?
The grasslands of
Prairies were the
home of native
Americans often
called “Red Indians”.
They were the actual
habitant of the
continent. The Prairies
were home of other
tribes also like the
Apache, the Crow, the
Cree and the Pawnee.
© NCERT
not to be republished
67 LIFE IN THE TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS
Glossary
FLORA AND FAUNA
Prairies are practically tree-less. Where water
is available, trees such as willows, alders and
poplars grow. Places that receive rainfall of
over 50 cm, are suitable for farming as the
soil is fertile. Though the major crop of this
area is maize, other crops including potatoes,
soybean, cotton and alfa-alfa is also grown.
Areas where rainfall is very little or unreliable,
grasses are short and sparse.  These areas
are suitable for cattle rearing.  Large cattle
farms called ranches are looked after by
sturdy men called
cowboys (Fig. 9.3). Bison or the
American buffalo is the most
important animal of this region
(Fig. 9.4). It nearly got extinct
due to its indiscriminate hunting
and is now a protected species.
The other animals found in this
region are rabbits, coyotes,
gophers and Prairie dog.
PEOPLE
The people of this region are very hardworking. They
have successfully harnessed technology to utilise their
rich natural resources. Two of the most developed
countries in the world - the USA and Canada are located
in this region.  Scientific methods of cultivation and use
of tractors, harvesters and combines has made North
America a surplus food producer. The Prairies are also
known as the “Granaries of the world,” due to the huge
surplus of wheat production.
Dairy farming is another major industry. The dairy
belt extends from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast
in the east. Dairy farming and extensive agriculture both
promote setting up of food processing industries.
Large mineral deposits particularly coal and iron
and a good network of roads, railways and canals in
this region have made it the most industrialised region
in the world.
Fig. 9.3: A Cowboy with his horse
Combine: A single
machine which can
combine the tasks of
sowing, ploughing and
threshing i.e. a three
-in-one.
Do you know?
Important cities in
the American prairies
are Chicago,
Minneapolis,
Indianapolis, Kansas
and Denver. In the
Canadian prairies the
important cities are
Edmonton,
Saskatoon, Calgary
and Winnipeg.
Fig. 9.4: A Bison
© NCERT
not to be republished
68 OUR ENVIRONMENT
Let’s do
THE VELDS
The temperate grasslands of South Africa are called the
velds (Fig. 9.5). Velds are rolling plateaus with varying
heights ranging from 600 m to 1100 m. It is bound by
the Drakensburg Mountains on the east. To its west lies
the Kalahari desert. On the northeastern part, “high velds”
are located that attain a height of more than 1600 m, in
some places. Look at the map of Africa. Name the
countries that are covered by the Velds. The tributaries
of rivers Orange and Limpopo drain the region.
Velds lie in the
Southern hemisphere.
When it is summers
in velds, what season
would it be in the
prairies?
Do you know?
The Veld name was
given by the Dutch
settlers before South
Africa was colonised
by the British.
Fig. 9.5: Veld in Africa
CLIMATE
The velds have a mild climate due to the influence of the
Indian Ocean. Winters are cold and dry. Temperatures
vary between 5°C and 10°C and July is the coldest
month. Summers are short and warm. Johannesburg
records about 20°C temperature in the summer.
Let’s do
Some type of grass
grows on almost every
surface of the earth.
List names of places
where you have
observed grass
growing, e.g., lawns,
cricket field, between
cracks of a side walk
etc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
69 LIFE IN THE TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS
The velds receive rainfall mainly in the summer months
from November to February. This is mainly because of
the warm ocean currents that wash the shores of the
velds. If the rainfall is scanty in the winter months from
June till August, drought may occur.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The vegetation cover is sparse. Grasses
dominate the landscape. Red grass grows
in bush velds. In the high velds acacia and
maroola are seen to be growing. The animals
of the velds are primarily lions, leopards,
cheetah and kudu (Fig. 9.6).
PEOPLE
Velds are known for cattle rearing and mining. The soils
are not very fertile in the velds due to the presence of
discontinuous grasses exposing barren surface. However
where the land is fertile crops are grown. The main crops
are maize, wheat, barley, oats and potato. Cash crops
like tobacco, sugarcane and cotton are also grown.
Sheep rearing is the most important
occupation of the people. Sheep is bred
mainly for wool and has given rise to the
wool industry in the velds. Merino sheep is
a popular species and their wool is very
warm. Dairy farming is the next important
occupation. Cattle are reared in the warmer
and wetter regions and the dairy products
like butter, cheese are produced for both
domestic supply and also for export.
The velds have rich reserve of minerals.
Iron and steel industry has developed where
coal and iron are present. Gold and diamond
mining are major occupations of people of
this region. Johannesburg is known for being
the gold capital of the world. Kimberley is
famous for its diamond mines (Fig. 9.7).
Mining of diamond and gold in South Africa
led to the establishment of trade ties with
Britain and gradually South Africa became
a British Colony. This mineral rich area has
a well-developed network of transport.
Fig. 9.7: Diamond Mine, Kimberley
Fig. 9.6: A Leopard
© NCERT
not to be republished
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