As with virtually all habitats, a number of different biotic and abiotic factors affect temperate grasslands. Abiotic factors include the soil chemistry, temperature, winds, precipitation and pollution, while biotic factors include the plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and diseases in the habitat.
The biotic factors affecting a grassland can change quickly. For example, a bacterial disease may spread through the local vegetation, drastically altering the species that can survive. Alternatively, an invasive weed could spread through the habitat, competing against the native flora. Animals may affect ecosystems even more quickly, as a swarm of insects may strip a grassland completely of food in a matter of days.
The biotic factors influencing a grassland may change as well, but most often, they occur over extended periods of time. This may allow the habitat to adapt to the changing conditions gradually. For example, erosion from rain and wind may gradually change the shape of the land. By contrast, pollution is an abiotic factor that may change a grassland very quickly. If humans cause pesticides, herbicides or insecticides to cover a grassland, the habitat may suffer immediate, long-term damage. Even substances such as fertilizers and antibiotics may cause an ecosystem to go into swift decline.