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close this bookDiversity, Globalization, and the Ways of Nature (IDRC, 1995, 234 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForeword
close this folder1. Introduction
View the documentGlobalization and the ways of nature
View the documentThe new globalization processes
close this folder2. Global trends and their effects on the environment
View the documentThe information revolution
View the documentDevelopment of global financial markets
View the documentDevelopment of more effective transportation networks
View the documentMovement of people
View the documentGlobalization and the unequal distribution of wealth
View the documentInternational migration
View the documentThe development of free markets
close this folder3. Planet-wide deterioration
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOur sister planet
View the documentThe unusual, oxygenated planet
View the documentThe paradox of ozone
View the documentOceans can be degraded too
View the documentThe rivers are becoming muddy
View the documentOvershooting
close this folder4. Forests under attack
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDeforestation in the 20th century
View the documentRain-forest environments
View the documentTemperate forests
close this folder5. Grasslands
View the documentSavannas
View the documentThe temperate grasslands
View the documentModifying grassland ecosystems
View the documentEnvironmental balance in grassland ecosystems
close this folder6. Aquatic ecosystems
View the documentExtractive exploitation
View the documentThe future of fish production
close this folder7. Managing planetary thirst
View the documentSome basic facts
View the documentWater supply and options
View the documentThe demand side of the issue
View the documentWater issues throughout the world
close this folder8. Protecting air quality
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAir and its principal contaminants
View the documentProcesses of contamination in industrial and urban areas
View the documentCurrent and future trends
close this folder9. Clean energy for planetary survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe industrial revolution
View the documentThe use of hydroelectricity
View the documentThe age of petroleum
View the documentNuclear power
View the documentThe clean options
close this folder10. Africa in the 21st Century: Sunrise or sunset?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe causes of poverty
View the documentHistorical causes of the current situation
View the documentWars are environmentally unfriendly
View the documentEvolution of environmental management in Africa
View the documentOld and new development models
close this folder11. Latin America and the Caribbean: A history of environmental degradation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIndigenous cultures
View the documentThe colonial period
View the documentExploitation of natural resources after independence
View the documentEffects of globalization on the environment
View the documentThe maquiladora phenomenon
close this folder12. The urban environmental challenge
View the documentThe development of modern cities
View the documentLarge cities in the Third World
View the documentThe megacities of today
close this folder13. Diversity and human survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDocumenting diversity
View the documentResources for the future
View the documentDiversity of living systems
View the documentCauses and effects of the loss of natural diversity
View the documentDiversity and culture
View the documentRestoring what is lost
View the documentBiodiversity and research
close this folder14. Strategies for the future
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDecentralize decision-making
View the documentPeople value their environment
View the documentProblems and responsibilities are global
View the documentBibliography

The temperate grasslands

The temperate grasslands were planted with crops such as wheat and barley very early in history. Farming was widespread on all primary prairies of the Eurasian continent, especially in the Ukraine and southern Russia. Similar activities took place later in other regions of the world: the South American pampas, the North American prairies, the South African rangelands, and southeastern Australia. The remaining grasslands are often secondary (regrowth after cessation of agriculture); they are associated with intensive cattle-farming activities (such as dairy farming); or their soils are inappropriate for farming (too stony, rocky, or sandy, or grassy wetland).

In some countries, grasslands with agricultural potential can remain relatively unaffected for various reasons, such as inadequate access to markets or cultural history. This situation exists in South America and, to a lesser degree, in Australia, Texas, and the Transvaal of South Africa.

A typical surviving prairie ecosystem is found in the South American pampas. The pampas are net or undulating landscapes extending for about a million square kilometres between 28° and 40°S latitude and east of the 500-millimette isohyet. This isohyet (a line on a map joining points of similar precipitation) is the approximate boundary between the semi-arid and subhumid areas of temperate South America.

The Buenos Aires pampas are flat and largely used for farming, particularly in the more humid zones (with more than 750 millimetres of rainfall per year). East of the Parana River, the flatlands gradually become more undulating and, in Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, undulating and flat areas are interspersed with hilly landscapes. It is in these areas that grasslands have remained less disturbed by farming.

It is important to note that the South American pampas are grasslands not because trees cannot grow, but because they cannot compete with the grasses. Human intervention can radically change this situation through the deliberate planting of trees, which are typically exotic but occasionally indigenous. However, artificial forests in the pampas remained a limited phenomenon until very recently.