Grand CanyonWhen visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time it is only natural to wonder what the first explorers must have thought as they strolled through the woodlands and suddenly before them a massive but magnificent ditch came into view. Similar feelings must have been experienced by those approaching the extensive grasslands of the world. The steppe of Eurasia extends from Europe to China; the prairies of America have been called an ocean of grass, and many settlers were too overwhelmed by its size to venture across it.

World GrasslandsGrassland, land containing mostly grasses, covers about 2/3 of the land masses of the world and makes up 1/4 of the earth's surface. Although grasslands contain mostly grass, they are actually areas of great variety since there are over 10,000 grass species, not to mention the 12,000 species of legumes that often grow with grasses. Most natural grasslands exist between deserts and forests, although man-made grasslands have been developed on land that would accommodate trees. Grasslands are usually divided into two categories: tropical (grasslands located near the equator such as those in Africa, southern Asia, Australia and northern South America) and temperate (grasslands located between the equator and the poles including those in North America, Europe, southern South America, Africa and Australia). Prairies, savannas, veldts, steppes, llanos, campos, downs, meadows, moors, pamir, pampas, pantanals, patanas, punas, pusztas, and sahel all describe grasslands of the world. Although different countries and languages have different names for grasslands, all countries are learning that grasslands are crucial to civilization as we know it.