Prairies of North America where is it located, animals and plants with photos

Prairies are called steppe plains located on the territory of the United States and Canada. Their length is about 3600 km, and they stretch along the Cordillera mountain range. The prairie is a rather flat steppe with small hills and various types of vegetation. Researchers distinguish three types of prairies.

  • Tall grasses. Here the vegetation can reach up to three meters in height, and the climate is the most humid.
  • mixed type. Vegetation of different species occurs, and the climate is rather arid.
  • low herbs. The border of these prairies runs along the Rocky Mountains and partly in the western United States.
  • The northern part of the prairie is tall grass, partly located in Canada, and partly in three US states. The eastern part is also tall grass, but the west is a short grass steppe with little rainfall. In the south, there are mixed-type prairies, on which a large number of cereal crops are grown.

    Prairies are very important for agriculture and pastoralism. These huge grassy areas allow you to feed a huge number of livestock in the summer and prepare enough fodder for the winter. The United States exports cereal cultures to other countries of the world precisely thanks to this steppe array.

    The soil

    The soil of most of the Great Plains consists of chernozem and burozem. It is one of the most fertile soils in the world. They were formed after the melting of glaciers and the basis for them was the remains of ancient organic matter. At the moment, the natural saturation of the soil with microelements occurs under the influence of the decomposition of the root system of most plants. In addition, there is a process of natural fertilization by many wild and domestic animals. Chernozems make it possible to obtain high yields of cereal crops without additional fertilizers.

    Shortgrass prairies are characterized by chestnut soil, which has a brown or reddish tint. There are often inclusions of clay in various proportions. Farming is also possible on this land, but constant watering of plants is necessary. A small amount of natural precipitation greatly complicates the process of agriculture, so these lands are exploited in the last turn.


    As mentioned above, most of the prairie is a smooth plain. For this reason, air currents are gaining high speed here. When they collide with moist air currents from the Gulf of Mexico, large storm fronts are formed that can cause significant damage. But, thanks to this factor, it often rains on the prairies with a large amount of precipitation. Such natural watering allows these lands to remain fertile.

    The northern part of the Great Plains is located in the temperate climate zone, and the southern part is located in the subtropics. This climate is ideal for the maturation of most types of plants cultivated by man. Most of the precipitation occurs in the summer, the rains come from the Atlantic Ocean and deliver most of the life-giving moisture to the prairies.


    In a highgrass zone, editorials consisting of oak or juniper undergrasses are often found. Often there are small coniferous forests interspersed with oak, acacia and some coniferous trees. However, most of the prairie vegetation is herbaceous plants. These lands are characterized by the following types of wild flora.

    Bearded Gerard


    drooping cycad

    switchgrass millet

    Wormwood cold

    But most of the plants are cereals cultivated by humans. In the tall grass zone, the height of cereals can reach about three meters. In the mixed zone, this figure is 1.5 m, and in the low-grass zone, the plant height reaches half a meter.

    Large areas of the prairies are freed from sowing cereal crops, they are grazing cattle. Most of these pastures are located in the short grass zone. Buffalo grass grows on these fields, which forms the basis of the diet of animals that are grazing here. It is much more profitable to feed livestock in natural conditions, so such fields are prohibited from opening and planting cultivated plants on them.


    Only two hundred years ago the main inhabitants of the prairies were huge herds of American bison.

    American bison

    According to various estimates, their number reached 60 million heads. However, uncontrolled hunting has led to the fact that today there are about a thousand individuals of these majestic animals. The US authorities realized at the last moment and only a miracle managed to avoid a complete extermination of the species.

    To date, the main inhabitants of the prairies are meadow dogs.

    Meadow dog

    This is a type of small rodents that warn relatives about the hazard of sound like a dog barking. At one time, US farmers massively poisoned these animals, protecting their crops. But it soon became clear that meadow dogs play an important role in the prairie ecosystem and their mass destruction ceased.

    Another large type living in this territory is the coyots.

    These are flock predators that play the role of the orderlies of the prairie. They hunt for Vilorogs (one of the representatives of the familycub family), but they can eat small rodents if they experience problems with food. It is worth noting that the prairie inhabites a large number of animal species, among which it is necessary to note badgers, blacklegged ferrets, rabbits, predatory birds and several species of poisonous snakes.

    At any time of the year, Prairia literally teems with life in a wide variety of forms. These endless steppe spaces serve as a house for many living creatures that can feel free, always having the opportunity to avoid meeting with a person.

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