Short essay on The Grassland Ecosystem

This is a type of terrestrial ecosystem. Grasslands occupy about 24 per cent of the earth's surface. Grasses, sedges and other forage plants are the dominant vegetation. Grasslands are natural, semi natural and cultivated. The various components of a grassland ecosystem are as follows:

Grasslands are dominated by grass species but sometimes also allow the growth of a few trees and shrubs. Rainfall is average but erratic limited grazing helps to improve the net primary production of the grasslands but overgrazing leads to degradation.

Abiotic Components

These are the nutrients present in soil and the aerial environment. The elements like C, O, H, N, P, and S etc. are supplied by carbon dioxide, water, nitrates, phosphates and sulphates etc. present in air and soil of the area. In addition to the above, some trace elements are also present in soil.

Biotic Components

These may be categorized as:

(i) Producers:

They are mainly grasses. Besides them a few herbs and shrubs also contribute to primary production

(ii) Consumers:

These occur in the following sequence:

(a) Primary consumers:

These are herbivores which feed on grasses like animals - cows, buffaloes, deers, sheep, rabbit, mouse etc. Besides them are also present some insects and termites, millipedes etc. that feed on the lea' of grasses

(b) Secondary consumers:

These are carnivores feeding on herbivores; include the animals like fox, jackals, snakes, frogs, lizards, birds etc.

(c) Tertiary consumers:

These are hawks and lions that feed on secondary consumers. They are the top carnivores, which occupy the top of the food

(iii) Decomposers:

The microbes active in the decay of dead organic matter of different forms of higher life are fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes. They bring the miner back to the soil, thus making them available to the producers.