[Short Notes] NCERT class VII : Our Environment – Life in temperate Grasslands – Chapter 9 – Part 2
Grassland can be defined as a region where grasses form the dominant type of plant life. Grasslands make up almost a quarter of the total land surface.
The types of plants that grow here greatly depend on what the climate and soil are like.
World’s grasslands is divided into two broad categories based on climate.
~ Those that occur in the temperate region
~ Those that occur in the tropical regions.
The temperate grasslands of South Africa are called the velds. Velds are rolling plateaus with varying
heights ranging from 600 m to 1100 m. It is bound by the Drakensburg Mountains on the east.
To its west lies the Kalahari desert. On the northeastern part, “high velds” are located that attain a height of more than 1600 m, in some places. The tributaries of rivers Orange and Limpopo drain the region.
The velds have a mild climate due to the influence of the Indian Ocean. Winters are cold and dry. Temperatures
vary between 5°C and 10°C and July is the coldest month.
Summers are short and warm. Johannesburg records about 20°C temperature in the summer.
The velds receive rainfall mainly in the summer months from November to February.
This is mainly because of the warm ocean currents that wash the shores of the velds.
If the rainfall is scanty in the winter months from June till August, drought may occur.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The vegetation cover is sparse. Grasses dominate the landscape. Red grass grows in bush velds.
In the high velds acacia and maroola are seen to be growing.
The animals of the velds are primarily lions, leopards, cheetah and kudu.
Velds are known for cattle rearing and mining. The soils are not very fertile in the velds due to the presence of
discontinuous grasses exposing barren surface.
However where the land is fertile crops are grown.
The main crops are maize, wheat, barley,