When the prairie,
of high and abundant grass, extends
to zones where the precipitations
are limited, it derives in lands covered
by lower and less numerous grass.
What was prairie assumes therefore
the steppe characteristics.
The steppe is usually
defined like a desert cold, to differentiate
it from the well-known torrid deserts.
The steppe is biome typical of regions
that are away from the sea, reason
why its moderating influence of the
temperatures is little or null. The
climate is barren, that is to say,
with extreme temperatures: the annual
average is of -12ºC. The annual
thermal amplitude - temperature difference
between winter and summer is great;
the summers are dry and winters, long
and cold. The aggravating factor is
the water: the annual precipitation
average arrives at 250 mm. These characteristics
cause that this biome appears like
a great extension, with some parts
with low grass, thorny brambles and
The grounds that
compose steppes are not totally developed.
They are rich in mineral elements
but with little organic matter, in
general less than in the prairies.
The different tonalities
that are observed in grounds of the
steppe must to the iron oxide contents,
that if they are elevated give a reddish
In general they are hard grounds because
it hasn´t been plowed.
of the steppe are not very deep,
this must to the shortage of rains,
since the water is one of the
factors responsible for the development
of grounds, along with the temperature
and the mother rock or material
from which it is developed.
DISTRIBUTION OF STEPPES
of the steppe is of the type
xerofile, that is characterized
by its adaptation to the shortage
of water: although the stems
dry the plant stays with life
underneath the Earth. The lack
of precipitations do not allow
the development of pastures;
the herbaceous vegetation with
isolated shrubs predominates.
the aromatic grass and bushes
are common in this biome. It
prosper plants with deep roots,
that are developed many meters
under earth, in search of water.
Other vegetables present roots that
grow in form of bulbs or tubercles,
where are accumulated reserves of
liquid and nutritious substances that
use when sprouting again in the adecuate
Some of the plants
of these semi-desert regions are the
thorny bushes, the pistachero and
the white artemisa. The leaves of
some of them are used in the industry
to make ropes, mats and paste to make
paper; those of artemisa, for medicinal
aims. In the Asian steppe it grow
the black wormwood - aromatic and
medicinal-, the ranúnculo -
that is a poisonous grass, the crestada
grass, the juncia, the gagea and the
The animals that
inhabit this region are the horse
of Przewaiski, the eagle of steppes,
the damsel grulla, the antelope saiga,
the avutarda, the smaller spalax,
and the marmota bobac. This are species
adapted to support the warm summers
and cold and dry winters. The antelope
saiga, for example, is a mammal whose
nasal graves are developed so that
it can filter the cold and dusty air.
The damsel grulla is a migratory bird,
that is translated towards the steppe
from other environment in the summer
The intense cold
and the heat, besides to prevent the
vegetal development, force the animals
to migrate in search of any water
well. In spring and autumn arrive
rains, brief and very violent, after
which the land is saturated of water.
It is the moment at which the grass
grows; the little trees, many of them
with bottle form, fill their trunks
to have reserves.
During rains, the
few brooks of the steppe can hardly
turn their dry beds into impetuous
torrents in ten minutes. Finalized
the season of rains, it will return
the drought during several months.
The life of
the man is not favoured in steppes.
Nevertheless, it is in those
regions where the oldest civilizations
were originated. Its main task
was the water extraction of
the subsoil by means of wells
and transfer it through long
as coyote perfectly adapts
to live in steppes, where
they cross long distances
in search of water and food.