Greenland Ecosystem

Greenland Ecosystem

Intended
Learning Outcomes

At the end of this Lecture, students will
be able to

• Explain Greenland ecosystem

• Explain the types of Greenland ecosystem

• Discuss the characteristic features of
Greenland ecosystem

• Discuss the structure and functional of
the Greenland ecosystem

Content

• Introduction to Greenland ecosystem

• Types of Greenland ecosystem

• Characteristic features of Greenland
ecosystem

• Structure and functional of the Greenland
ecosystem

Greenland
Ecosystem

• A wide range of landscapes in which the
vegetation is mainly formed by grasses and small annual plants are adapted to
India’s various climatic conditions

• These form a variety of grassland
ecosystems with their specific plants and animals


What is a grassland ecosystem?

• Grasslands cover areas where rainfall is
low & soil depth & quality is poor

• Low rainfall prevents the growth of a
large number of trees and shrubs, but is sufficient to support the growth of
grass cover during the monsoon

• Many of the grasses and other small herbs
become dry and the part above the ground dies during the summer months

• In the next monsoon the grass cover grows
back from the root stock and the seeds of the previous year

• This change gives grasslands a highly
seasonal appearance with periods of increased growth followed by a dormant
phase

• A variety of grasses, herbs, and several
species of insects, birds and mammals have evolved so that they are adapted to
these wide-open grass covered areas

• Man began to use these grasslands as
pastures to feed his livestock when he began to domesticate animals and became
a pastoralist in ancient times

Grassland
Types in India

• Grasslands  form 
a  variety  of 
ecosystems  that  are 
located  in  different climatic  conditions 
ranging  from  near 
desert  conditions,  to 
patches  of shola grasslands that
occur on hillslopes alongside the extremely moist evergreen forests in South
India

• In the Himalayan mountains there are the
high cold Himalayan pastures.

• There are semi-arid grasslands in Western
India, parts of Central India, and in the Deccan Plateau

• Himalayan pasture belt extends up to the
snowline

• Grasslands at a lower level form patches
along with coniferous or broadleaved forests

• Himalayan wildlife require both the
forest and the grassland ecosystem as important parts of their habitat

• Animals migrate up into the high altitude
grasslands in summer and move down into the forest in winter when the snow
covers the grassland

• Hill slopes are covered with thousands of
colourful flowering plants and large number of medicinal plants

• Terai consists of patches of tall
grasslands interspersed with a Sal forest ecosystem

• Patches of tall elephant grass, which
grows to a height of about five meters, are located in the low-lying
waterlogged areas

• The Sal forest patches cover the elevated
regions and the Himalayan foothills

• Several mammals such as the wolf, the
blackbuck, the chinkara and birds are adapted to these arid conditions

• Shola grasslands consist of patches on
hillslopes along with the Shola forests on the Western Ghats, Nilgiri and
Annamalai ranges

• Grasslands are related to repeated fires
that do not permit the forest to grow

• Grasses are the major producers of
biomass in these regions

• Each grassland ecosystem has a wide
variety of species of grasses and herbs, thus overused or frequently burnt
grasslands are degraded and are poor in plant species diversity

How are
grasslands used?

• Grasslands are the grazing areas of many
rural communities

• Farmers who keep cattle or goats, as well
as shepherds who keep sheep, are highly dependent on grasslands

• Domestic animals are grazed in the
‘common’ land of the village

• Grass is also used to thatch houses and
farm sheds

• Major source of fuel

• Grasslands have diverse species of
insects that pollinate crops

• There are also predators of these insects
such as the small mammals like shrews, reptiles like lizards, birds of prey,
and amphibia such as frogs and

What are
the threats to grassland ecosystems?

• Overutilization and changes in land use
of the ‘common grazing lands’ of rural communities has lead to their
degradation

• A major threat to natural grasslands is
the conversion of grasslands into irrigated farmlands

• After continuous irrigation such land
becomes saline and useless in a few years

• More recently many of these residual
grassland tracts have been converted into industrial areas

• This provides short-term economic gains
but result in long-term economic

• Changing the grasslands to other forms of
landuse such as agriculture, tree plantations and industrialisation forms a
serious threat to this highly productive ecosystem

• Finally grasslands become bare, the soil
is solidly compacted by trampling, or is washed away during the monsoon by rain
and whipped into dust storms during the hot dry summer. The land is degraded,
as there is no grass to hold the soil in place. It becomes a wasteland

What if our
grasslands disappear?

• If our grasslands are lost we will lose a
highly specialised ecosystem in which plants and animals have been adapted to
these habitat conditions over millions of years

• Local people will not be able to support
their livestock herds

How can
grassland ecosystems be conserved?

• Grasslands should not be overgrazed and
areas of the grasslands should be closed for grazing

• A part of the grassland in an area must
be closed every year so that a rotational grazing pattern is established

• Fires must be prevented and rapidly
controlled

• In hilly areas soil and water management
in each micro-catchment helps grasslands to return to a natural highly
productive ecosystem

What
should we do?

• There 
is  a  need 
to  preserve  the 
few  natural  grassland 
areas  that  still survive by creating National Parks and
Wildlife Sanctuaries in all the different types of grasslands

• Animals such as the wolf, blackbuck,
chinkara and birds such as bustards and floricans have now become rare all over
the country, they must be carefully protected in the few National Parks and
Wildlife Sanctuaries that have natural grassland habitats

• We need to create an awareness among
people that grasslands are of great value

• If 
we  are  all 
concerned  about  our 
disappearing  grasslands  and 
their wonderful wildlife, the Government will be motivated to protect
them

• Keeping grasslands alive is a National
priority

Summary

• Grasslands cover areas where rainfall is
low & soil depth & quality is poor

• Grasslands  at 
a  lower  level 
form  patches  along 
with  coniferous  or broadleaved forests

• Grasslands are the grazing areas of many
rural communities

• Overutilization and changes in land use
of the ‘common grazing lands’ of rural communities has lead to their
degradation

• If our grasslands are lost we will lose a
highly specialised ecosystem

• Need to preserve the Natural grassland
areas that still survive by creating National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

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