Prairies are large areas of mostly treeless grassland found all over the world including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. This biome is characterized by moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall and vast stretches of flat land. Tall grasses prevent erosion, so grassland prairies are ideal for agricultural activities.
In South America grassland biomes are called pampas. In Africa the landform is known as the veldt. Asian grasslands are known as steppes. The word prairie comes from the French fur trappers who first explored the Great Plains in North America after Europeans arrived. Animals who live on the prairie are adapted to eating grass and moderate temperatures.
The North American prairie is 2 million acres, and more than 99 percent of the land is used for agriculture. The Great Plains formed after the Rocky Mountains were pushed upward due to plate tectonics. These mountains prevented copious amounts of moisture from reaching the interior of the United States and prevented trees from growing.
The Great Plains are located from Alberta and Manitoba in Canada down to Texas. Very small hills rise little more than 4 feet throughout the center of the United States. Grasses hold soil in place very well. Crops such as wheat, oats and rye are ideal for prairie biomes.