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In physical geography, a steppe (Russian: степь, IPA: [stʲepʲ]) is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. In South Africa, they are referred to as veld. The prairie of North America
North America
(especially the shortgrass and mixed prairie) is an example of a steppe, though it is not usually called such. A steppe may be semi-desert or covered with grass or shrubs or both, depending on the season and latitude. The term is also used to denote the climate encountered in regions too dry to support a forest but not dry enough to be a desert. The soil is typically of chernozem type. Steppes are usually characterized by a semi-arid and continental climate. Extremes can be recorded in the summer of up to 45 °C (113 °F) and in winter, −55 °C (−67 °F). Besides this huge difference between summer and winter, the differences between day and night are also very great. In the highlands of Mongolia, 30 °C (86 °F) can be reached during the day with sub-zero °C (sub 32 °F) readings at night.

Steppe
Steppe
in Russia

The mid-latitude steppes can be summarized by hot summers and cold winters, averaging 250–510 mm (10–20 in) of precipitation per year. Precipitation level alone is not what defines a steppe climate; potential evapotranspiration must also be taken into account.

Contents

1 Two types 2 Locations

2.1 Cold steppe 2.2 Subtropical
Subtropical
steppe

3 See also 4 References

4.1 Sources

5 External links

Two types[edit]

Southern Siberian steppe: windbreaker trees in the wintertime

Two types of steppe can be recorded:[1]

Temperate
Temperate
steppe: the "true" steppe, found in continental areas of the world; they can be further subdivided, as in the Rocky Mountains Steppes[1] Subtropical
Subtropical
steppe: a similar association of plants that can be found in the driest areas with a Mediterranean-like climate; it usually has a short wet period

Peculiar types of steppe include shrub-steppe and alpine-steppe. The Eurasian Grass- Steppe
Steppe
of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands had a role in the spread of the horse, the wheel, and the Indo-European languages. The Indo-European expansion and diverse invasions of horse archer civilizations of the steppe eventually led to, e.g., the rise of Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece
by amalgamation of Indo-Europeans with the autochthonous pre-Greek population and also its destruction during the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
in the Late Bronze Age collapse, followed by the demise of the Achaeans, the spread of the Sea Peoples, and eventually the rise of Archaic and ultimately Classical Greece. Locations[edit]

Cold Patagonian steppe near Fitz Roy, Argentina

Cold steppe[edit]

Flock of sheep in the Mongolian steppe

The world's largest steppe region, often referred to as "the Great Steppe", is found in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
and Central Asia, and neighbouring countries stretching from Ukraine
Ukraine
in the west through Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
to the Altai, Koppet Dag and Tian Shan
Tian Shan
ranges. The inner parts of Anatolia
Anatolia
in Turkey, Central Anatolia
Anatolia
and East Anatolia
Anatolia
in particular and also some parts of Southeast Anatolia, as well as much of Armenia
Armenia
and Iran
Iran
are largely dominated by cold steppe. The Pannonian Plain
Plain
is another steppe region in eastern Europe, primarily Hungary.

Prairie
Prairie
in Alberta, Canada

Another large steppe area (prairie) is located in the central United States, western Canada and northern part of Mexico. The shortgrass prairie steppe is the westernmost part of the Great Plains
Great Plains
region. The Channeled Scablands
Channeled Scablands
in Southern British Columbia
British Columbia
and Washington State is an example of a steppe region in North America
North America
outside of the Great Plains. In South America, cold steppe can be found in Patagonia
Patagonia
and much of the high elevation regions east of the southern Andes. Relatively small steppe areas can be found in the interior of the South Island
South Island
of New Zealand.

Sagebrush steppe
Sagebrush steppe
in northeastern Nevada
Nevada
along US 93

Subtropical
Subtropical
steppe[edit] In Europe, some Mediterranean areas have a steppe-like vegetation, such as central Sicily
Sicily
in Italy, southern Portugal, parts of Greece
Greece
in the southern Athens
Athens
area,[2] and central-eastern Spain, especially the southeastern coast (around Murcia), and places cut off from adequate moisture due to rain shadow effects such as Zaragoza. In Asia, a subtropical steppe can be found in semi-arid lands that fringe the Thar Desert
Desert
of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
and the Badia of the Arabian peninsula. In Australia, "subtropical steppe" can be found in a belt surrounding the most severe deserts of the continent and around the Musgrave Ranges. In North America
North America
this environment is typical of transition areas between zones with a Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
and true deserts, such as Reno, Nevada, the inner part of California, and much of West Texas
West Texas
and adjacent areas in Mexico. See also[edit]

Badia Canadian Prairies Coastal
Coastal
plain Coastal
Coastal
prairie Desert Eurasian Steppe Field (agriculture) Flooded grasslands and savannas Flood-meadow Forest
Forest
steppe Grassland Great Hungarian Plain High Plains Kazakh Steppe Mammoth steppe Meadow Mongolian-Manchurian grassland Pasture Plain Pontic-Caspian steppe Puszta Rangeland Savanna Steppe
Steppe
Route Temperate
Temperate
grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Tundra Water-meadow Wet meadow Veld

References[edit]

^ a b "Ecoregions of the United States-Ecological Subregions of the United States". fs.fed.us. U.S. Forest
Forest
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 25 October 2016.  ^ "Hellinikon". HNMS.gr. Greece: Hellenic National Meteorological Service. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 

Sources[edit]

Ecology and Conservation of Steppe-land Birds by Manuel B.Morales, Santi Mañosa, Jordi Camprodón, Gerard Bota. International Symposium on Ecology and Conservation of steppe-land birds. Lleida, Spain. December 2004.ISBN 84-87334-99-7

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Steppes.

"The Steppes". barramedasoft.com.ar. 1998–2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 

v t e

Phytogeography: Vegetation
Vegetation
classification

Physiognomy

Forests, woodlands, arboretum Shrublands, scrubs, thickets, fruticetum Dwarf-shrubland, subshrublands, dwarf-scrubs, suffruticetum Herbaceous
Herbaceous
communities, grasslands, steppes, prairies, herbetum Savannas, parklands Scarcely vegetated areas, desert vegetation

Latitude

Tropical Subtropical Temperate Subpolar Polar

Climatic regime

Pluvial, rainy, ombrophilous Cloudy Seasonal Drought

Altitude

Montane Submontane Lowland Coastal

Leaves

Loss of leaves

Deciduous, caducifolious Semi-deciduous, semicaducifolious Evergreen, perennifolious

Leaf hardness

Sclerophyll, stiff leaves Orthophyll, hyptiophyll leaves

Leaf form

Aciculifolious, needle-leaved Latifolious, broad-leaved

Substrate

Terrestrial vegetation Aquatic vegetation

Riparian Mangrove Swampy

See also

Biogeographic realms Biomes Floristic kingdoms Plant habits Plant life-forms Vegetation

Authority control

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